Information technologies mean more than oil in the modern world. They rapidly change the society and the economy. Belarus has to respond to these changes in a timely fashion, in particular, by reforming the education system. The opinion was expressed by Viktor Prokopenya, an entrepreneur, the founder of the investment company VP Capital, during an informal meeting of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko with representatives of the IT community on 12 April, BelTA has learned.
Viktor Prokopenya said: “Information technologies represent more than oil nowadays. In 2018 the world spent 60% more money on IT than on oil. The figure will only grow larger.” Due to the advance of technologies hydrocarbons are being replaced with solar energy, which cost gets lower year by year.
In the modern world information technologies spread very rapidly. The falling cost of computers and their rising computing capability help with that.
“If things continue in this manner, in dozens of years computers will have intellectual capabilities on par with those of humans. They will not have a conscience. They will not replace people. They will serve us. People will control machines. I am absolutely confident in that,” he said. These trends will change a huge number of industries within a short period of time. Many of them will disappear, for instance, call centers and delivery services.
Viktor Prokopenya is convinced that in the future computers will replace humans in many jobs. It is necessary to change the education system with this in mind. Among the main problems he mentioned excessive bureaucratic workload of pedagogues and the lack of an individual approach to every student. The businessman suggested converting all school records to the digital format, make the practice of virtual video lessons conducted by talented teachers more widespread. It is also necessary to teach children how to work as part of a team, how to tackle tasks together. The time spent on boring lecture-like lessons should be reduced. In his opinion, it is also necessary to improve English language studying.
Viktor Prokopenya said: “We would like to have the capability to better help the education system. But the status of the Hi-Tech Park Administration as a state institution does not allow doing it in a sufficient measure.” Viktor Prokopenya asked Aleksandr Lukashenko to take measures to allow the Hi-Tech Park to more freely help educational institutions.
Viktor Prokopenya also thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko for supporting the Belarusian IT industry: “Mass media often say that we [IT companies] enjoy a special tax regime and unprecedented preferences. Yes, we do. But the preferences granted in Russia and Ukraine are very similar. The income tax in Ukraine is 5%. But they don't grow as fast as we do. Why? Because we have a different kind of investments you've made in the park – your words. You always publicly support us. You show that IT industry is important and good. People trust and come to us – state customers, programmers, and investors.” Viktor Prokopenya said he would like the state support of the IT industry in public to remain as serious. He said he would like the government to continue affirming its guarantees for the IT industry and following the policy of vigorous development of the IT industry in Belarus.