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Siarhei Viatohin: Being out of the Bologna Process will leave Belarus with no scientific elite

19.02.2017  |  Society   |  Piotr Kuchta,  EuroBelarus
Siarhei Viatohin: Being out of the Bologna Process will leave Belarus with no scientific elite

"To sign the document, and then to try to wiggle out of implementing what was signed", - the expert of the Public Bologna Committee assesses the reforms of higher education.

"The Bologna process has been going on for 17 years in Europe. We have just entered it - in 2015, and and we did it on certain conditions. Therefore it is naïve to expect that we will obtain any dividends from it right now. Alas, we have far more expectations than the actual results, which should have already been achieved and which were planned, "- commented Siarhei Viatohin, associate professor in Physics and Mathematics and the head of a department at the Belarusian State Technological University in his speech at the panel discussion "The Year of Science: How to make science the engine for progress of our country".  The panel discussion was held by the community "Liberal Club" in cooperation with the project "Science beyond itself".

 Siarhei Viatohin reminded that the main goal of the Bologna Process is to create a common educational and scientific space in Europe, regardless of whether the country is in the European Union or not. "The Bologna Process implies certain rules of the game, it does not impose them, but strongly suggests. But we, not yet full-fledged members of the process, already behave as if we are better than anyone else, know more than anyone else, and so on", - said Siarhei Viatohin.

According to the expert of the Public Bologna Committee, the obvious backlog of Belarus in the implementation of the "road map" results from the fuzzy position of those responsible for the education in the country: "Since we were joining the process for such a long time, everyone managed to reach something and we were all the time in doubts and started to fall behind. I am absolutely convinced though that at the beginning of this process, we were ahead of most European countries. That is why we were proposed and enter the process in advance while simultaneously implementing the "road map".

 Siarhei Viatohin is skeptical about the progress made by authorities in the implementation of the "road map": "Numerous reforms of Higher Education are planned, but it all goes very slowly – we are good at it, first to sign the document, and then to try to wiggle out of implementing what was signed".

Regarding science, "in fact, the Bologna process has only one thing to say about it - a three-level system of higher education, where the third level is our modern scientific education." "Let me remind you, that the first step is lightweight higher education, broader than it is now, without a deep specialization. This is, in fact a satisfaction of the educational needs of the population, a mass education, which de facto exists - and we are one of the world leaders in it, "- highlighted the expert. The Bologna process recommends studying at the first step for 3-4 years, "We are not ready for such a transition today, I haven’t seen such numbers even in the new edition of the Code of Education, it is always 4.5-5 years". The second stage covers specialization, preparation for scientific work. "We usually call this stage Master’s degree. The third step is a doctorate course”. “If we move towards Europe we need to adapt to it. If we don’t, we can try to educate the elite, but there will be less and less of it. The evidence can be traced in the halved number of the Ph.D. candidates over the past 20 years” - concluded the expert.

According to Siarhei Viatohin, "if we do not concentrate on certain areas and continue to tack everything in sight just like in Soviet times, it will spread our resources too thin, nothing more than that, and it is unacceptable". 

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