Meeting with school students

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Young people should build their future, first of all, in Belarus, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting with school students titled as Youth. Looking into the Future on 26 May.

“You can be absolutely happy and fulfill your dreams in Belarus,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.

He remarked that, of course, they can go abroad, like some people do. “We do not stop anyone from leaving,” the President added.

At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that as practice shows it could be quite difficult to reintegrate back in the native country, find a place in the society. “Homeland is the main thing. Therefore, I advise you, not as president but as a person, not to leave your homeland! Live here and try to do some good for your country. Do something for those who might help you become great people and true leaders someday,” the head of state said.

“You are our hope, the wealth of the country. We should do and will do everything to help you find a place under the sun here, in the country which you need to value and protect,” Aleksandr Lukashenko assured.

He also mentioned the initiators of promising and interesting youth projects in various regions of Belarus. “This deserves support and respect. These people are doing great things for the country, make our lives more meaningful. These and other projects will definitely make Belarus famous around the world,” the head of state said.

Before the meeting the President visited the exhibition to highlight the accomplishments of the children and youth movement Leadership Guidelines as the Formula for Success. Students demonstrated their own R&D products and inventions. One of them was a 3D printer.

Students also presented miniature copies of ancient and lost architectural monuments under the Our Heritage project.

The head of state was informed about the development of the system of secondary education in Belarus. All secondary school programs will be revised in Belarus by 1 September, this work is nearing completion, Education Minister Igor Karpenko said. One of the advance copies of the new school books and a modern technology of ‘live pictures’ have been shown to the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the design of books is also important. They should be beautiful and user-friendly at the same time. “We should not spare money for new books,” he said.

Children's health was at the heart of the decision to modify school start times, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “What do we expect from this decision? I think the major concerns are children's health, and them feeling good in the classroom. For an individual to assimilate the new knowledge, he should feel good. The goal here is to take care of children's health and their ability to assimilate new information,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also visited the school’s statehood museum. A picture of the head of state with students was taken upon request of the school students.

At the meeting with students the head of state talked about qualities of a true leader.

“As the head of state it is my job to pay attention to the younger generation because I see tomorrow in you,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He underlined that leadership qualities are needed in various fields including the management of a country or the management of an individual enterprise. “You can be leaders in labor collectives, too. A true leader is more than a manager of a large enterprise, a city administration, a district administration, a central government, more than the country’s president. A true leader always leads people, too. I hope a lot you are this kind of people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The President said he was confident that the young people will be able to achieve the goals they set out to reach. “All the conditions have been enabled in the country for your walk in life to be a success. The existing education system allows choosing your profession wisely and realize the skills you have,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also advised the school students not to waste their time. “Everything needs to be done when the time is right. If you don’t do something now — get educated, build the foundation of your life as a whole — tomorrow will be too late,” he said. “Now life is terribly intensive. If you lose a year, you will not be able to catch up later on. You simply will not have the time for it. Your peers will move forward by then.”

The participants of the meeting also discussed centralized testing.

“We are busy approximating the centralized testing with the school curriculum. This year the new education minister made me a promise that all the centralized tests would be based on the school curriculum. This year they will fully correspond to it,” the head of state underlined.

According to him, previously centralized tests were put together by representatives of the scientific community. “The result was as follows: all school teachers got used to tutoring in summer while school students started to learn everything by heart instead of developing logical thinking. This is a wrong way to prepare for the centralized testing,” the President pointed out.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also remarked that in some fields the centralized tests will no longer be required. This primarily applies to art specialties. “We have done it earlier and will keep on promoting this practice. When the result of a test depends solely on some figures, teachers cannot recognize pupils’ individuality. This should not be done this way,” the President noted.

“This year we will examine the process and will take the final decision next year,” he concluded.

The President also supported the idea to set up the youth parliament in Belarus. There are youth chambers at oblast councils of deputies and the Minsk City Council. “If you want to do it, I will support you. I like the idea,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “You can even make the two-chamber parliament. I will give a corresponding instruction to let you visit the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic on certain days.”

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko shared his childhood dreams during the meeting with students. “Back then [as a child] I did not dream about becoming a president. I could never imagine that. First, there were no presidents in that country. We had general secretaries. But I did not think about becoming a general secretary either,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“To be honest: I had one single wish. The village where I lived was not very developed, and I saw how the people struggled, how they lived. I had one immense desire to take an area, a farm and do something good for these people,” the President noted.

The President said that he also dreamed about professional sport, in particular, football. “I loved football so much and I wanted to be a great player. But I did not train with a professional team and a coach. I had no such opportunity. We played the way we could and knew,” the Belarusian leader remarked.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about the school life of his younger son Nikolai. “If you think that he is a special child, there is nothing of the kind. He is like other children. He wakes up at 7 o’clock, starts school at 8,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “He is a regular student in a regular school. Yes, everybody understands that he is a son of the president. But, thanks God, he does not like to get more attention than is needed.”

Speaking about the studies at school, the head of state expressed an opinion that it is bad for children to have too many classes with too difficult information at school. Too much homework is also bad. “We can get adverse effect, especially when children struggle to assimilate new information because it is too complicated,” he said.

The head of state was asked what he thinks about using Belarusian to teach historical disciplines in secondary schools. “I am totally against forcing school students to speak one state language only. We have two state languages: Russian and Belarusian. It is up to individuals to decide whether they want to study disciplines in Belarusian or Russian,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “If you ask me what I would like, I’d say I’d like these disciplines taught in Belarusian. We speak Russian a lot in our everyday life. We could use more Belarusian in our lives. Is it good or bad? I don’t know. I don’t think it would be a catastrophe.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that many people view Russian as a property of the Russian Federation but the approach is totally incorrect. “It is our language. We’ve been speaking Russian for centuries. The language is a living and breathing thing. The current Russian language has been improved century after century. It is the way it is now because we’ve invested our souls in it, because Russian people have invested their souls, and Ukrainians have done as much. Even the nations, who spoke Russian less than we did. We sacrificed our lives for this language. Russian is our language. It is a great treasure,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

“Truth be told, we have another language, too, which makes us different from other nations. A state and a nation have to have their own peculiarities, including a language of their own. If a nation has a language of its own, it is a nation indeed. We have two languages. We are rich,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted he is against artificial incentives because the approach can cause rejection. “Wars often began in the past due to misunderstood language problems. We don’t need that,” he noted.