Report covering progress of university admittance campaign and preparations for new academic year

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If Belarusian teachers do not get respect and good salaries, the state will lose the best pedagogues. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he heard out a report covering the progress of the university admittance campaign and preparations for the new academic year on 9 August.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “The matter of the status of pedagogical workers, primarily school teachers to be exact, is no longer just a public concern. It has become a political issue. Due to many reasons. Teachers have always had a hard mission to accomplish. Teachers have never been rich. They are not exactly rich today either. But we want them to carry a great burden, including political one. If we take a look at the parliamentary elections or the recent presidential elections and ask ourselves who represented the base of the political nucleus that carried out the main political campaign, we will see that teachers, medics, and civil servants did it. At present these categories of the population, who ensure stability in our country, may be offended for no good reason. Primarily school teachers.”

The head of state remarked that populist decisions like raising salaries for teachers and be done with it were not the way he prefers. “I don’t want to look at the problem from this angle. I want a different view: the situation with salaries for teachers can no longer be tolerated. Let’s get teachers do the work they should do but pay decent salaries. We will not lose teachers, they are not going to go away. But we allow the best specialists to quit the education system, primarily secondary schools. We are losing the best teachers like that,” added the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that the fact that there are more female teachers than male ones is often debated. “Man has been the breadwinner of the family since times immemorial. If the man of the family is a teacher, he cannot feed his family with this salary. This is why woman stays to teach, while man goes and finds a better paid job. Thus, we lose the male part of our teacher corps. It is not exactly good,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.

Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded that the status of Belarusian teachers needs to be improved. “But improvement primarily depends on teachers themselves. Let’s load teachers in a way to truly raise their status. I want teachers to be the key player in the countryside and in the city, particularly in the countryside,” pointed out the President. “On the other hand, the state should lend its shoulder. It is bad when teachers in good or average agricultural enterprises get half the salary of a tractor driver or a milkmaid. It is abnormal. It is the central issue. Whatever we may do to deceive ourselves, whatever we may say that teachers don’t complain about their salaries, we should clearly understand that it is an important matter for every person. And it is an extremely important matter for teachers because their average salary is below the country’s average.”

Another important issue is school education. “Children will go to school very soon. I have only one condition which is dictated by the society: all children should have equal conditions in schools. They should have normal school uniform. There are poor, medium-income, and rich people, but children are not to blame. They should be dressed and prepared: all of them should have school bags, plasticine, pencils, clothes, and other things. I said several times where to take money for these things in previous years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“The system of education does not need more reforms, it is needed to improve what we have. Normal textbooks, first of all, history books, are needed because children must understand what was happening in our country in the past. A look in the past is a look in the future. I am not going to teach you. And we become focused on less important issues leaving topical and pending issues without attention,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state stressed that he will listen to the detailed reports on the enrollment of school graduates to universities, on the preparation of schools for the new academic year, and other issues at a separate meeting. The participants of the forthcoming meeting will make decisions on pending issues in the education system, including school and post-graduate education. “There is only one task today – we should outline these problems, prepare or pass a corresponding resolution on these issues. This is my primary concern,” the President said.