The report is drawn by the Belarusian Independent Bologna Committee and the Ad Hoc Commission of the Belarusian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.
The report covers the period from January to June 2016.
15 May 2016 marked one year since Belarus joined the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the start of Belarus Roadmap for Higher Education Reform implementation (the Roadmap).
As before, the main obstacle to the Roadmap implementation and inclusion of the key stakeholders in higher education reform process is the absence of a clear regulatory and legal framework that would serve as a basis for the fulfillment of Belarus’ obligations with respect to the Roadmap implementation as well as a non-transparent process of creating such a framework.
The Ministry of Education is not able to ensure an effective legislative reform implementing the key Roadmap provisions since the amendments to the Code have not received the political approval from the country’s leadership, and are inconsistent with legal norms developed by other Ministries.
The Ministry of Education and other government agencies proceed with legislative amendments with respect to the Roadmap implementation, its preparation and lobbying in an non-transparent manner thus excluding the major higher education stakeholders from the process.
The authorities do not seek experts’ assistance in the Roadmap implementation with respect to improving graduate employability and taking into account the new situation on labour market.
Academic repressions continue; violations of social rights of students and graduates persist; there are also no visible changes in terms of strengthening institutional autonomy.
The report also includes recommendations to the members of the first Advisory Group (AG2) formed within the frames of the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG):
1. Recommend the Ministry of Education to develop and agree with relevant government bodies and higher education stakeholders on proposals concerning reform of the inconsistent laws in order to implement the Roadmap. The aforementioned proposals should be discussed publicly.
2. Assist the Ministry of Education in developing a system to improve graduate employability perspectives and to replace the anachronistic mandatory work placement system and, based on European experience, tackle youth unemployment. To achieve this goal, a possibility of approaching the European Commission with a suggestion to include higher education into its program Employment, professional education and education in Belarus (Registered in General information system for external relations (CRIS)- No.2014/030-979) should be considered.
3. Assist the Ministry of Education in preparing proposals on incorporating Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)7 into the law, which would provide for the organizational, financial, human resources and academic autonomy of the Belarusian HEI, as well as protection of academic freedom.
4. Discuss with Belarusian officials measures, which could protect leaders of independent student organizations from repressions until the amendments to the Education Code transposing Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)7 come into force.