At what time should the first lesson start? How should children be seated at their desks? How should they be dressed and fed? And what is the most important – what should be taught to them?
Everything is so complicated that the Belarusian Education Ministry cannot cope without the help of president Alyaksandr Lukashenka who, as the father of a schoolboy, thinks he is no stranger to present-day school problems.
“All children should be equally prepared for September, 1. I do not mean that they should be wearing the same uniform. Children from low-income families should not stand out,” he said at Tuesday’s working meeting with Deputy PM Vasil Zharko and Education Minister Ihar Karpenka.
In turn, Belarusians responded with jokes on the Internet – for example, they offered to give teachers identical bouquets and dress officials in uniforms so that no one could ‘boast’ of their wealth.
The ministers, as always, were at accord with the president. The Deputy Prime Minister promised to rebuild the education pyramid, because the state requires more students of specialized schools and technical colleges.
According to experts, the problem is not in the ubiquity of higher education, but in its necessity enshrined in the Belarusian law.
“If it is a box-ticking education, if people study just to get a wallpaper degree, it is a big problem with the [Belarusian] Labour Code. Unfortunately, it is written in such a way that a person without a diploma can find only a cleaner’s job or something of the sort,” teacher Yauhen Livyant explains.
According to Mr Livyant, the major problems are low-grade curricula, bad school textbooks corresponding to low-grade curricula, terrible bureaucracy that paralyzes the work of schools, and a very low social status of teachers.