Svetlana Matskevich: Belarus will most likely continue to imitate the Bologna process

Yauheniya Burshtyn, EuroBelarus Information Service

It is only a year and a half left till the end of the term for implementing the Roadmap within the framework of the Bologna process in Belarus, but experts observe no significant progress.

Last week in Berlin the Center for European Transformation together with Heinrich Böll Foundation held a round table talks and a series of expert meetings on the development of the Bologna process in our country. The experts of the Public Bologna Committee and their European colleagues tried to work out the mechanisms for implementing the Roadmap within the framework of the Bologna process in Belarus.

EuroBelarus Information Service talked to Svetlana Matskevich, an expert of the Humanitarian Techniques Agency, the candidate of pedagogical sciences, about the results of negotiations.

“We need to think about what will happen in a year and a half already now,” stated Svetlana Matskevich. “Belarus will most likely continue to imitate the Bologna process.”

Experts still don’t know what to do in this situation. Our country has a number of obligations, and if it does not fulfill them, and Europe states that, Belarus may get itself into serious troubles.

“The Bologna Process is the only cooperation between EU and Belarus at the international level,” said Svetlana Matskevich. “However, this situation shows the inconsistency of our country and Europe at the level of values, and it is unclear how to resolve the conflict, since we are not sure how to proceed with the dialogue.”

According to Svetlana Matskevich, there is a danger this dialogue can happen without the participation of civil society, which insists on solving the problem within Belarus. The Belarusian government demonstrates a tendency to act only bilaterally with the EU. The representatives of the Public Bologna Committee tried to convey this message during the round table talks in Berlin.

Agency of Humanitarian Technologies’ expert highlights that the Bologna process in Belarus is not an educational but rather a political project, which sets us apart from the other participating countries. But a meaningful dialogue could help to extend this model to other spheres — social, economic.

Svetlana Matskevich noted that Belarusian participants of meetings in Berlin received many pieces of advice on the deployment of the Bologna process from their German colleagues. And even in Germany, the process is not as fast and smooth as they would like it to be as it has a peculiarity: for its further development, there must be a constant self-analysis on how the process is going. And that is despite the fact that the German universities enjoy autonomy and use it to the fullest.

Another distinguishing feature of Belarus among the other participants of the Bologna Process is its general framework setting. In Europe it is primarily focused on the labor market and aims at ensuring that experts can adapt and compete within the European Union space.

“In the post-Soviet space education should focus on shaping thoughts, not only on the labor market. We must conduct a desovietization in the education system. Therefore, we firstly need to prepare the human resources, and it would be wise to begin not with the students but with the academic community and universities administration. The leading universities of the country should initiate this process, instead of churning out experts with diplomas in fashionable fields,” strongly believes Svetlana Matskevich.

But the question of what can the civil society do to improve the situation remains. Svetlana Matskevich, the candidate of pedagogical sciences, says that she already does her best. According to the expert, we need to talk about the desovietization, belarusization and europeanization of education all around. Morover, civil society should make a unified action plan of implementing the Roadmap of the Bologna Process.