Lukashenko urges to finally decide on admission system in 2024
It is necessary to choose, once and for all, the admission system in Belarus in 2024, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he hosted a meeting to discuss the ongoing university admission campaign on 6 June, BelTA has learned.
“We need to make up our mind as to how we will evaluate the academic performance of secondary school students. What kind of exams will they take?” the head of state asked.
The president wanted to hear the reasons for canceling end-of-school exams: “Why have we scrapped end-of-school exams? As a former teacher, I know that a school exam is the culmination of the educational process. It felt like a holiday, teachers were happy. And I administered exams. There was nothing bad about them,” the president said.
“We started to simplify the process: four, three, two exams… We went as far as to discard end-of-school exams. Now we take a single centralized exam,” Aleksandr Lukashenko continued. “We removed the most important academic performance indicator in schools, the pinnacle of the whole educational process, and took children to some collection and reception points to take a centralized exam. Even the very form of it does not look very good.”
One of the reasons for replacing end-of-school exams with centralized exams was the desire to reduce the academic burden on children. However, it is necessary to be reasonable about it and children should not be overprotected. “I believe that school exams are a good opportunity for children to practice and to prepare for university exams that are more difficult. And again, if you have studied well for 11 years, you will be able to prepare and pass school exams,” the president is sure.
Another reason for the transition to centralized exams was to ensure impartial knowledge assessment, as school teachers could “adjust” the results. However, the outcomes of the centralized exams revealed that the final grades at school are pretty much the same as the results of the centralized exams. “We suspected schools of somehow “adjusting” grades. But it turned out (the ministry arrived at this conclusion, too) that the results of the centralized exams mostly coincide with the results of end-of-school exams. So why were these exams scrapped?” the head of state asked.
In this regard, the president set a task to finally decide on the admission system in 2024. “As far as the university admission is concerned, we need to decide: either we will return to centralized testing that sometimes turns into playing a guessing game, or we will opt for an interview assessment using a well-established system. Or it will be some kind of symbiosis, a mixture of both methods. We should make up our mind on that once and for all. This [task] is not for this year , but for next year,” the president said.
He emphasized that he would like to hear different, even polar views of experts, so that a balanced decision could be made.
The head of state announced a large meeting on education, similar to the recent meeting on public healthcare. The main talking points will revolve around the admission campaign. Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that at the forthcoming meeting he would like to hear different, even polar points of view, so that a balanced decision could be taken.
“Let me make it clear: there should be no mistakes or, God forbid, abuses. You know my position: everything should be fair and understandable for people,” the president noted.
In addition, Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded people in charge that they need to keep an eye on the quality of school textbooks: “Do not forget about textbooks. The main thing in a school is a textbook. All tasks were set several years ago. Join efforts with the State Control Committee to examine how this problem is being dealt with.”
The head of state addressed Chairman of the Central Election Commission Igor Karpenko who was education minister before Andrei Ivanets. “You are a former education minister. You were told to work closely with the minister [Education Minister Andrei Ivanets], delve into this system and put forward your point of view and position. So far I do not see your position. Therefore, get involved. You have a lifelong career in education. And you have people who can give some good advise. We need to hear to what they have to say, accumulate their opinions and also make proposals,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Education Minister Andrei Ivanets noted that a centralized exam is primarily a form of final certification of secondary school students that allows seeing the actual academic performance of each school leaver. “We see it as a very important tool to run the school education system. I would like to say that this tool will provide clear answers to three questions: what we teach, how we teach and who teaches. We have all the necessary tools for this,” the minister said.