Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: “Education in Belarus is becoming increasingly obsolete and sinking into crisis”

Unlike in most post-Soviet countries, the Soviet system of compulsory postgraduate work assignment has not been abolished in Belarus. Those graduates whose tuition fees are paid from the state budget are obliged to work for 2 or more years for a company assigned by the state. In many cases, they are assigned to work in remote regions, for nearly-bankrupt companies that barely pay a minimum wage. Yesterday, Parliament Speaker Natallia Kachanava proposed extending this system to all graduates, including those whose tuition fees are paid by their families. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya commented on this proposal.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: “Yesterday, Natallia Kachanava proposed to make every student in Belarus a serf and force them to undergo compulsory postgraduate work assignment regardless of who pays their tuition fees. 

I can’t imagine what drove her to this idea. It might have been the shortage of personnel in the regions, where salaries do not even cover basic human needs, or the mass emigration of skilled workers. Education in Belarus is becoming increasingly obsolete and is sinking into crisis. But instead of creating conditions for young people’s personal fulfillment and helping new talents develop, officials are trying to crush these talents with new repressions.

They just don't understand young men and women. In the artificial constraints that the obsolete regime creates, the new generation feels cramped. They have the whole world at hand: they can learn any language, choose any profession, and realize any talent. They are our future. And the mission of the state is to help them find opportunities for self-fulfillment, which would be beneficial to their native country as well, otherwise they will only be able to fulfill their dreams abroad.

It does not take a genius to understand: compulsory work assignment must be abolished entirely. What Belarusian students really need is more opportunities: international exchange programs, distinguished professors, and up-to-date knowledge. There should be more practicing professors at Belarusian universities who could share their experience with students. And working in the regions should be a prestigious way for young professionals to fulfill themselves, not a punishment for them.

The university is not an army; the mission of the university is not to educate loyal “soldiers”, but to exchange experiences between generations and help the younger generation excel at their chosen field. And once the universities of Belarus begin to fulfill their real mission, young people will celebrate Student's Day with pride, not shame for their universities”.

17 November 2022 в 08:06