NAWA Polish National Agency for Academic ExchangePoland Supports Belarusian Scientists, Teachers and Students

Poland Supports Belarusian Scientists, Teachers and Students

Poland Supports Belarusian Scientists, Teachers and Students

Despite repression and police violence, the Belarusian society continues to protest against the results of the election, which was commonly deemed unfair. The Polish academic community manifests solidarity with those suffering from repression and organises support with regard to work and education. The Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) has launched three measures supporting students, scientists and teachers as part of the government initiative ‘Solidary with Belarus.’ Moreover, numerous universities, where Belarusians have been the second largest group of foreign students for some time now, have opened to their eastern neighbours, as well.

Almost 900 Belarusian citizens are going to take up education at 73 Polish universities thanks to monthly scholarships granted under the measure ‘Solidary with Students,’ which is organised by NAWA in cooperation with the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP). ‘Financial support is not the only type of assistance we can offer. We are planning to prepare online lectures and meetings for the scholarship holders on the topics of, among others, the development of academic career in Poland, the principles and procedures related to the legalisation of stay in Poland, but also the ways of dealing with difficult life situations,’ NAWA Director Dr. Grażyna Żebrowska explained when the results of the call were announced.

In addition, NAWA and CRASP are running two more measures on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Science, namely ‘Solidary with Scientists’ and ‘Solidary with Teachers.’ The objective of the former is to enable around 20 researchers from Belarusian universities and scientific institutions to come to Poland. The latter involves the participation of 15 teachers from Belarus in the Postgraduate Qualification Studies in Teaching Polish Culture and Polish Language as a Foreign Language at the University of Silesia. Apart from that, NAWA organised an online course of Polish for more than five hundred students from Belarus who are studying or planning to study in Poland.

In total, more than 1,100 persons have received support under NAWA’s actions. The budget for all measures amounts to approx. PLN 14 million. 

Universities Welcome Belarusians

Prof. Arkadiusz Mężyk, president of CRASP, emphasised that universities were eager to participate in the ‘Solidary with Students’ measure.  ‘The universities have showed solidarity and offered the opportunity to study in Poland to young Belarusians who could lose the chance to complete higher education on account of the situation in their home country,’ Prof. Mężyk said when the results of the call were announced.

Aside from their engagement in the government initiative, the universities organise support on their own account. They postponed the recruitment deadlines and funded scholarships for young Belarusians who wished to take up studies or to continue education interrupted by the political unrest. Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin offered ten places in second-degree programmes free of charge. Similarly, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (AMU) offers Belarusian students who have been expelled from their institutions the possibility to study at AMU free of charge. Other forms of help include financial support on account of difficult situation (Wrocław University of Science and Technology), free accommodation in dormitories at the beginning of the studies (University of Silesia), and scholarships for the best students and for those who have been expelled from their universities (University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów).

 ‘The year 2020 will go down in the history of the Belarusian people. (…) We hope that the protests and actions of the Belarusian society will lead to a happy ending and desired changes in Belarus,’ as we can read in a statement of former Rector Prof. Andrzej Lesicki and Rectrix Prof. Bogumiła Kaniewska on the website of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.


Poland Popular among Belarusians

Many Belarusian students chose to study in Poland even prior to the outbreak of the political crisis.

According to the data of the Central Statistical Office, more than seven thousand Belarusians studied at Polish universities in the academic year 2018/2019. They formed the second largest group of foreigners who choose education in Poland – after the Ukrainians. Belarusians amounted to 9.3% of all foreign students in Poland.



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