Belarusian authorities to put schoolchildren in ‘agro-classes’


By order of Belarusian Education Minister Ihar Karpenka, next year agro-classes will be established in some Belarusian schools. What is behind the new initiative – new staff policy or a source of free labor?

What children will do in agro-classes is unknown.

But this educational initiative is planned to be implemented throughout Belarus, first of all – in village schools and small towns.

“This can allow school administrations to legally send the children to the fields. And if there are such tragedies as there was two years ago in the Maladzechna district, it will be very difficult to prove the administration’s wrongdoing, because the agro-classes are established to take children to the fields, so that they knew how to collect potatoes and so on, Inna Harmel, editor-in-chief of agrolive.by, said.

In addition to agro-classes, Minister Karpenka proposes to create special schools on the basis of the most successful agro-industrial enterprises, where students could practice.

Is the initiative of the Education Ministry a response to Lukashenka’s criticism?

“Honestly, we still have little done in the area of financial rehabilitation of agricultural organizations: the number of unprofitable organizations is going down too slowly. At the end of the year, I need a report on the results. I have not seen it so far. You probably think that I forgot about it. Agricultural production is a production, a business, and not a social project. I will demand results,” the head of Belarus recently said.

Although the staff issue plays a big role, it is not the only sphere that requires attention. Moreover, the result of the work wil onlyl be available in five years to assess the percentage of graduates who will continue their education in agricultural universities.

While the country’s leadership is engaged in bringing new projects to life, the main problem of the Belarusian agro-industrial sector lies in the system of total state control. And the talk about the “village of the future”, which is conducted by officials, mostly looks like a joke.

Dzmitry Mitskevich, “Belsat”

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