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13 February 2024, 15:20

Minister comments on career guidance opportunities for school students in Belarus

MINSK, 13 February (BelTA) – Belarusian universities provide training for all sectors of economy and social welfare, Belarusian Education Minister Andrei Ivanets said at the meeting held by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko with members of the National Council of Rectors of Higher Education Institutions in Minsk on 13 February, BelTA has learned.

The minister noted that the country's higher education system is currently represented by 49 higher education institutions with about 230,000 undergraduate and graduate students and with over 17,000 teachers, including 7,000 candidates of science and 1,100 doctors of science.

“Universities provide training for all sectors of economy and social welfare. Almost every fifth student is a future engineer, every tenth is a future teacher, a healthcare professional, an agricultural worker,” he stated.

“Today we are moving away from the all-encompassing higher education. We start this work from school. In the last three years alone, the number of nine-year school graduates who entered colleges has grown from 30 to 50%.  In fact, every second nine-year graduate chooses to continue their education in college. It does not mean that we close the door to higher education for them. We create appropriate additional options. Last year alone, higher education institutions admitted 10,000 college graduates”, the minister added.

The minister noted: "We offer early career guidance for schoolchildren. Last year, we re-introduced the field-specific programs for 8 and 9 grades.  We are developing field-specific courses. Field-specific classes report a good percentage of admissions, at the level of 20-30%. Teacher-training classes have better results. Half of admissions to the full-time state-funded program to the country’s leading pedagogical university were the medalists and graduates of teacher-training classes. This work should be continued in other sectors: agriculture, sport and pedagogical. This year, we introduced engineering classes."

Andrei Ivanets noted that those children who are enrolled in the basic education program are not left without attention.

"Skills training is in our focus. This year alone, 30,000 schoolchildren are taking skills training courses, 90% of whom receive a working profession and an appropriate certificate. We offer about 100 such working professions." 

The minister also voiced his concerns: "Every year we have about 8,000 university dropouts. Half of them are expelled for academic failure (we welcome tough responsibility for the quality of education). However half of them drop out of their own volition. This suggests that we are underperforming in terms of career guidance. This is an untapped potential for the national economy."

"This is why we are taking measures to improve career guidance," the minister explained. 

The minister believes: "Not only rectors, heads of colleges should reach out to schoolchildren and parents. This should also be employers. Today, parents want to understand not only where their children will study but where they will work, what conditions they will have for professional growth and for the development."
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