Ratings for Belarusian unis are still low but getting better

When will Belarusian institutions of higher education be able to get to the top of the best universities of the world? Not soon but at least positions in the global ratings are improving

According to QS World University Rankings 2014/2015 Belarusian State University is between 491 and 500 positions and the 218th most attractive university in Europe. Belarusian National Technical University is the 701st and 282nd correspondingly. Referring to Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, where 22 000 of almost 30 000 educational institutions of the world are analyzed, Belarusian State University is on the 612th position. Universities are ranged according to four criteria that characterize the level of scientific articles and presence of the universities on the Internet: «influence», «presence», «openness» and «quality».

In the first thousand of the best universities of the world Belarus is presented only by Belarusian State University. Hrodna State University is situated on the 2039th position,  Belarusian National Technical University is the 2230th, Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics is on the 2952nd position. Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, which values the quality of university web-sites, includes about 50 Belarusian universities altogether.

In the ranking of CIS Belarusian State University has become one of the best, Belarusian State Technological University is on the 24th position and Belarusian National Technical University— on the 32st one.

Svetlana Mazkevitch, an expert of the Agency of Humanitarian Technologies, a candidate of pedagogical sciences, says, that the ranking system isn’t perfect and raises many doubts, but it stimulates universities to monitor the situation on the educational market and make a decision on starting higher education development programs.

It’s important for Belarusian education service to evaluate its position in the world arena fairly and strive for a higher quality of higher education. But it hasn’t been happening yet.  “The content of our education has nothing special and unique, and it needs reforming”, – Svetlana Mazkevitch says.

Could rankings stimulate universities to reform?

Oleg Grablewski, a jurist, a member of Independent Bologna Committee, considers that rankings allow to evaluate universities according to different indiсes depending on the ranking criteria, and the results of the rankings create prerequisites to change for the better, if there is a good will of university administration. “But Belarus boasts of its rapid original development, it’s in international isolation, that’s why Belarus is able to get only to the rankings with criteria of the Ministry of Education and rankings of unfreedom – unfreedom of researches, unfreedom of teaching, unfreedom of university management,” – the expert says.

Vladimir Dunaev, a member of Independent Bologna Committee says that at the top of the rankings there are universities which spend a fortune on educating, that’s why all countries create research universities which are focused on scientific brainpower training and researches. These are the main criteria according to which worldwide rankings evaluate universities.

“Rankings are important, because they set a standard of achievements. For national education service it’s important to understand its correlation with world’s leaders. Ideally, this analysis stimulates a country to educational reforms increasing the quality of education and research studies”, – the professor said.

But it’s impossible to improve a world’s ranking position without preliminary standardization of the quality of education and increase of stimuli and habits to compete in the market of educational services. Belarus lacks a national ranking system that would be a starting point for competition development. “The attempt to create an inland official ranking ended with a great discontent of the heads of the universities that didn’t get to high positions”, – Vladimir Dunaev says.

There were several national rankings and Bologna Committee (for example, the ranking of informational accessibility, the ranking of the level of university internalization). But they were made by means of available information, for instance, the information from university web-sites.

National rankings together with certain reforms of the education system could learn universities to strive for continuous improvement of service quality and working of innovative ways. It’s important for attracting both Belarusian and foreign students. “Without the reform of the education system, which would be oriented to European standards, our universities will never be attractive for foreign students. Belarus could be doomed to remain a source of personnel, for example, for Turkmenistan. And even it will be only as long as these students are being sent to our universities without any choice”, – Oleg  Grablewski considers.

Experts says that Belarus will have to reform the education system or at least pretend it, if it joins to the Bologna Process. In that case the country will undertake certain obligations. And the chances of position increase in world’s rankings could rise.

Translated from

About Ekaterina Myasnikova (3 Articles)
Ekaterina is a philologist. She likes reading, travelling, learning languages, good music, theatre and sport. She is interested in different kinds of translation.

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