There are both pros and cons of Belarus’ involvement in student mobility programs in the framework of the Bologna Process, Education Minister Siarhei Maskevich said when answering questions from members of the House of Representatives on May 17, 2013.
According to the Minister, the main disadvantage of such programs is that they lead to brain drain. “Joining the Bologna Process opens up new opportunities for cooperation at the level of participation in Europe-wide programs, above all mobility programs. But for us, just like for any other country, national interests are above pan-European interests,” he said.
Our country’s application for membership in the Bologna Process in 2015 might be refused once again In 2012 Belarus was turned down because of “the lack of academic freedom, pressure on students and teachers, universities’ dependence on the state”.
The Bologna Process is a series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European countries designed to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher education qualifications. Through the Bologna Accords, the process has created the European Higher Education Area, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. It is named after the place it was proposed, the University of Bologna, with the signing of the Bologna declaration by Education Ministers from 29 European countries in 1999, in the spirit of European integration which was en vogue at the time (and which also resulted in the introduction of the Euro at about the same time). The Bologna Process currently has 47 participating countries. In 2003 Russia joined the Process; in 2010 Kazakhstan signed all the necessary documents and became the first Central Asian country in the European Higher Education Area. Belarus has applied for membership of the Bologna Process but this was refused by the member states in 2012, on the grounds that they doubted Belarus’ commitment to academic freedom.