Belarus tightens its grip on private sector

October 14, 2005

The Belarusian Government is extending its tight control of state universities and academics to private institutions.

Alexander Radzkou, the Minister of Education, last week introduced a Higher Education Bill that will increase government control over the entire sector.

Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, has the power to appoint and dismiss rectors of state universities. The new Bill would give the Education Minister similar powers over the private sector - which accounts for one sixth of all students.

The Bill also restores the Soviet-era practice of compulsory job placements for graduates.

It will also change the structure of higher education to one in which a four or five-year course leads to a bachelors degree, then a one or two-year masters course.

This does not mean that Belarus is moving towards the Bologna Process. Mr Lukashenko has made it clear that he has little interest in pan-European projects.

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