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Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The legal foundations of the Belarusian educational system are in the Constitution adopted in 1994 and further revised in 1996. Article 49 guarantees every Belarusian citizen the right to a free general secondary education and vocational training. Secondary specialized and higher education can be obtained free of charge in state educational institutions on a competitive basis. The principles and functions of education are further defined in the laws: "On Education in the Republic of Belarus," "On Languages," "On National and Cultural Minorities," "On the Child's Rights," as well as a number of statutes and regulations.

According to Article 14 of the Law on Education, the system is composed of preprimary education, general secondary education, professional technical education, secondary specialized education, higher education, educational staff training, advanced training and retraining, and independent education. The Law spells out the main principles of the educational policy, which include:

  • the priority of human values
  • national and cultural basis of schooling
  • scholarly character achieved through improvement of the content of education
  • forms and methods of instruction
  • cooperation of research institutions with educational establishments
  • connection with social practice
  • continuity and structural coherence
  • secular character
  • compulsory basic (nine-year) schooling

One of the principles emphasized by the Law is the ecological orientation of education. This issue is of special importance because of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, situated six miles from the southern border of Belarus. The disaster at Chernobyl occurred on April 26 to 28, 1986, and Belarus suffered 75 percent of the effects of the explosion. As a result, more than 20 percent of its land was contaminated by radiation, and more than 500,000 people had to be relocated. Schools in Belarus were expected to educate students about security and behavior under unfavorable ecological conditions. The law also prescribes educational establishments to take care of the children's health, especially in regard to those who live in the areas affected by the radiation.

The goals of education identified by the law are:

  • to promote the harmonious development of personality and realize its creative potential
  • to foster national identity and preserve and increase the intellectual wealth and national values of the Belarusian people and other ethnic groups of the republic
  • to develop the scientific, technical, and cultural activities in accordance with the needs of the republic
  • to develop a conscious attitude towards democracy as a form of administration and existence
  • to cultivate respect for the world order, based on the acknowledgement of political, economic, and social rights of all peoples

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceBelarus - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education