Alexander Lukashenko meets with students of the International Relations Department of the Belarusian State University, 1 September 2012
Belarus has a well-developed education system that offers up-to-date training in a wide range of professions. Some 99.7% of Belarusian adults and 99.8% of the youth are literate. This is one of the highest literacy levels in the world.
Belarus has one of the highest student-to-population ratios in the CIS with 467 students per 10,000 people, with only Russia (523) and Ukraine (488) recording a higher level. To compare: there are 314 students per 10,000 citizens in Austria, 277 in Germany, 343 in Italy, 315 in Japan.
As of 2011, there were 45 state-run universities and 10 private universities in Belarus. The Belarusian State University (BSU) and the Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU) are the leading institutions of higher learning in the country.
In 2011 the Belarusian State University made it to the QS World University Rankings. BSU got into the group of universities ranked between 501st and 550th. All in all, the survey covers 700 universities in the world. According to the survey, BSU is ranked 9th among the CIS universities. BSU has the same position among the universities of Central and Eastern Europe. According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, BSU is 843rd out of 20,372 universities in the world. The Belarusian State University is among 3% of the best institutions of higher learning in the world.
The National Council of University Rectors is the supreme advisory body in the system of higher education. It was founded by President’s Decree No. 71 of 8 February 2001.
Higher education in Belarus is prestigious and affordable. To get admitted to university, school graduates have to take centralized tests. Students can choose to study full time, take up evening courses or opt for extramural studies. All graduates receive university diplomas. Full-time students who get scholarships and grants are provided with the first job placement after graduation.
The majority of Belarusian universities have 5-year curricula. However, starting from the 2012/2013 academic year the period of training in over 230 professions will be reduced from five to four years.
The Belarusian system of higher learning takes into account global trends and fulfills international obligations. Belarus maintains cooperation with other educational institutions within the framework of UNESCO programs, the CIS, the EurAsEC, and the Belarus-Russia Union State.
There are several types of higher education institutions in Belarus: “classical” universities, specialist universities and academies, institutes, higher colleges.
Advanced academic training is available through post-graduate and doctoral courses provided by higher learning institutions and research centers of the Education Ministry of the Republic of Belarus. There is a multi-branch network of institutions providing refresher courses and advanced training in Belarus.
Belarusian education is popular with foreign students. As a rule, foreign students have to pay for their studies at Belarusian universities. The cost of training varies depending on a university and a field of study. In 2011 over 9,000 foreign citizens from 80 countries commenced their studies in Belarus. The majority of students come from China, India, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Russia.
On 13 January 2011 the President of the Republic of Belarus signed the Education Code. The document was approved by the House of Representatives on 2 December 2010 and by the Council of the Republic on 22 December 2010. The Education Code provides for developing a unified regulation mechanism in education, systematizing and streamlining existing regulations, reducing the number of regulatory acts, and eliminating drawbacks in the regulations governing this field. The Education Code ensures continuity of legal regulation and does not provide for any conceptual changes in the system. The Education Code of the Republic of Belarus consists of the General Part and the Special Part. The document contains established legal norms that proved to be a success as well as new regulations.