School and Pre-School Education
There is a well-developed system of secondary education in Belarus. It includes several stages: elementary school (1-4 grades), middle school (5-9 classes), and high school (years 10-11). Most children in Belarus start school at the age of 6. All students have to complete nine years of school.
In 2002 a 10-point grading scale was introduced in Belarusian schools, vocational schools, colleges, and universities instead of a 5-point grading system.
Students who have successfully completed nine years of school can attend colleges or vocational schools where they complete the high school program and simultaneously get professional skills. A high school diploma allows students to get enrolled at a university.
In 2011 there were over 3,500 educational institutions in Belarus, including 220 vocational schools.
Belarusian students regularly win international school Olympiads. For example, in 2011 they received 2 gold medals in physics and informatics; 9 silver medals, including 2 medals in mathematics, 2 medals in physics, 2 medals in chemistry, and 3 medals in informatics; and 9 bronze medals, including 3 medals in mathematics, 2 medals in physics, 2 medals in chemistry, and 2 medals in biology.
The education system in Belarus is constantly developing and improving. Belarusian education institutions are expanding the use of cutting-edge technologies, updating textbooks, and upgrading equipment.
In the 2011/2012 academic year five secondary schools ran an experiment to test a learning model with individual electronic devices. The experiment was supervised by the National Education Institute. The experiment will continue because its participants have supported this learning model.
Belarus boasts a good system of pre-school facilities. Although attending this type of facilities is not mandatory, many Belarusian children attend nurseries or kindergartens before they start school. Pre-school facilities admit children in the age between 2 months and 6 years old.
There are different types of pre-school facilities, namely nurseries, kindergartens, children’s pre-school development centers. A huge part of expenses in these facilities is covered by the state.
Apart from the aforementioned pre-school facilities, there is an open pre-school education system in Belarus. It envisages the involvement of parents in the learning process. Parents assist teachers and heads of study groups.
The number of pre-school facilities in Belarus is on the rise. Both boys and girls have equal access to pre-school education. Some 39.7% of children under 3 and 95.3% of children in the age between 3 years and 6 years, including 66.6% of children in rural areas, attend pre-school facilities. All five-year-old children attend classes to get ready for school.