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Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Lukashenko calls for final decision on new university admission rules before year end

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed to take the final decision on the rules of the country's university admission campaign 2023 before the end of 2022, Education Minister Andrei Ivanets told the media after the government meeting hosted by the head of state on 23 August to discuss the development of the national education system, BelTA has learned.

At the meeting the president was briefed on the results of the recent admission campaign and readiness of the country's educational institutions for the new academic year. The head of state and the participants of the meeting discussed three main topics related to the educational system. There were the educational process in schools and universities, human resources in educational institutions and the university enrollment system, which means an efficient link between the school and university education system.

Aleksandr Lukashenko was interested in the future university admission rules. The president's main requirements are to see every applicant behind the exams and to understand the strategy for selecting school leavers. It is inadmissible to run experiments every admission campaign, because some mistakes can take decades to correct, he stressed. “We need to do everything right,” the head of state said.

Belarus has been using centralized testing as major exams to enter university for many years already. It is time to mull over whether such a system is effective today and what adjustments it needs. The president set a task for the participants of the meeting to make necessary proposals before the new year: either to preserve the existing approaches or to introduce necessary changes in order to “see the applicant”.

“The central question is how to select applicants who should come to university motivated. He or she should be motivated not just for the learning process but for receiving education in order to work in the real economy of our country,” said Andrei Ivanets.

The university admission campaign 2023 will in general follow the already announced rules. School leavers will sit exams combined with the centralized testing as well as tests depending on the chosen specialty. It is quite possible that some changes will still be made to the ongoing admission campaign. For example, there can be more than two combined exams to be taken at option. These things are still under discussion. The final decision will be submitted to the head of state before the end of the year.

“Everything is quite dynamic, and the issues that require urgent decisions should be taken promptly. Of course, the proposals that will be developed and submitted to the head of state may also affect the admission campaign. The issue related to the centralized testing has already been determined. Another question is that the centralized testing is just an element of the admission campaign. So we need to see what this centralized testing should look like and what additional admission tests could be introduced in a certain university or a group of universities,” the minister explained.

Andrei Ivanets added that tests themselves would also be slightly changed. “We are moving away from the tasks where there is an opportunity to guest the answer. Today half of the test contain the tasks where there is an opportunity to choose an answer, and the rest is where you need to solve a specific task. We are changing the structure of the test, minimizing the number of multiple-choice tasks. This will help us “see” the applicant,” the minister said.

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