In 2015 when joining EHEA, Belarus undertook obligations to implement the Roadmap provisions into national legislation, including the diversification of the forced employment system for graduates, erasing discrimination in financial support for students to ensure social equality, simplifying the procedures to establish and register student organisations, incorporating the principles of the Magna Charta Universitatum and the Council of Europe recommendation Rec/CM(2012)7 on the states responsibility for academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
The new edition of Code of Education, that was presented by the Ministry of Education earlier in 2017 for civil discussion, encompasses some minor changes in relation to the Bologna Road map but abandons the guarantee that actions would be taken to continue the work on implementing reforms after the term of the international supervision (adv g) expires at the Ministerial conference in Paris 2018.
The amendments proposed in the new Code affect only a small amount of issues and are certainly not enough to ensure the implementation of the Bologna principles in Belarus. At the present time, there is no single Bologna Road Map requirement that has been fully achieved, and the amended Code only serves as a proof of this.
ESU is also concerned that the new Code does not address official student representation, which needs a legal framework in order to correspond to the EHEA concept of student participation in HE governance. Along the road, ESU believes that while approving the new Code, all stakeholders must be consulted in a proper way through establishing an open dialogue.
Should the new edition of Code of Education be adopted by the National Assembly in its current format, none of the Roadmap provisions on students’ rights and interests would be fulfilled.
Paying attention to this situation, ESU calls on the Belarusian Ministry of Education to ensure real civil discussion of the new Code with all stakeholders, including independent student organisations in order to ensure full compliance with the Roadmap provisions concerning students’ rights and interests.
Taking into account that not even half of the Road Map requirements have been fulfilled, ESU calls upon Belarusian Ministry of Education to reconsider the new edition of Code of Education providing that the changes adopted must ensure that principles of academic freedom, institutional autonomy, equal participation in university government, social equality are reflected in the new Code of Education.