Strategic Action Plan for Higher Education Reform in Belarus

This strategy aims at opening the higher education system in Belarus to internationally recognized standards, sensitizing it to the need for qualitative and systemic reform, for the purpose of developing its competitiveness and its integration within the pan-European cultural and educational space. Specific targets within this strategic statement are listed in the discussion below, as are a number of action activities envisaged for an energized partnership of the international community and the independent Belarusian higher education community, both within the
country and outside.

Summary of the Symposium

The symposium brought together leading specialists in the subject area from Belarus, from the North America Belarusian Diaspora, and from the diplomatic arena. These individuals held widely divergent views on historical and current events in Belarus, on the state of higher education there, and on the prospects for the role of higher education in concretely advancing democratic civil society in the country.

Nonetheless, consensus developed around a number of specific points pertaining to the current state of affairs of Belarus, including: its unique problems of national identity based on historical factors; the past fifteen years of Belarus’ history as a template of how not to advance civil society; the crucial if undramatic role higher education must play as the practical alternative; the vital necessity for the United States, Canada, and the European Union to work in tandem in promoting higher education, especially with regard to: directed support for independent educational structures within and adjacent to the country, promotion of culture, and intensification of exchanges; and the necessity for Belarusians themselves finally to work together if a democratic civil society is to be achieved. Most especially this trans-Atlantic cooperation is crucial over the next year (see below).

Of vital importance, participants were unanimous in supporting a strategy synthesized and articulated at the symposium. This strategy aims atopening the higher education system in Belarus to internationally recognized standards, sensitizing it to the need for qualitative and systemic reform, for the purpose of developing its competitiveness and its integration within the pan-European cultural and educational space. Specific targets within this strategic statement are listed in the discussion below, as are a number of action activitiesenvisaged for an energized partnership of the international community and the independent Belarusian higher education community, both within the country and outside.

Finally, participants were of the view that the share for higher education in the international community’s financial support for Belarus needs to be radically increased, recognizing–finally–its vital role in societal transformations.

Read the FULL TEXT of the Symposium Report & Strategic Action Plan

 

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