Belarus tries to achieve good rating for its high education system

Belarusian universities want to improve their position in international rankings – intend to attract more foreign students and demonstrate the quality of domestic higher education. The Belarusian State University (BSU) is currently ranked globally including in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016.

International Agency for ranking universities evaluate and the Belarusian universities- whether we like it or not”, said the Rector of the BSU Sergei Ablameyko, speaking an international seminar dedicated to the subject in Minsk.

The good rating positions are desirable for universities, because foreign students pay attention on them when choosing a college. Finally, the good rating positions positively affect the country’s image, said Sergey Ablameyko.

The BSU is purposefully working in this direction. And the conclusion of experts is the raising of the ranking is a difficult task, but realistic.


The rankings evaluate various achievements of universities.
Webometrics Ranking of World Universities is ranking universities according to the visibility on the Internet. This ranking presents all Belarusian universities, and the best of them ‒ the Belarusian State University which took 589th place in 2016.

But in the QS World University Rankings are involved only BSU and BNTU. The academic reputation and the employer reputation are evaluated with surveys; considered the index of citations of scientific papers over the past five years; the ratio of the number of teachers and students; the number of foreign students.

The BSU demonstrates success in this ranking ‒ 354th place in 2016. The BNTU was the eighth hundred last year.


Why other Belarusian universities cannot get into the prestigious rankings?
The Rector of the BSU as one of the major pointed to the problem of financing, “The level of tech-nical support universities and academic staff depends on the number of funds.”

According to UNESCO, in Belarus per student spent $1,900, while in the EU- 13 thousand dollars a year.

The problem of shortage of funds creates another problem ‒ in the Belarusian universities have limited access to scientific journals with a worldwide reputation. In Russia and other countries, this problem is solved through the organization of consortia and purchase access to databases of journals on the taxpayers dime, reported the director of the Scientific Library of the Belarusian National Technical University Scientific Library (BNTU) Alexei Skalaban.

Sergey Ablameyko confirmed that there is the problem of unavailability of databases of leading scientific journals, public money do not allocate for its decision. This is largely due to the high price ‒ we are talking about several tens of thousands of dollars annually, “The BNTU and the BSU are ready to participate in the consortium, but regional universities are not. However, two or three universities hard to pay the necessary amount.”

Databases are not enough, agreed the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of the BSU Alexei Toustsik: “It would be well under the auspices of the Ministry of Education to create a consortium of universities and pay for access to the databases.”

However, apparently, the state has no money for that. As noted by the deputy head of the Higher Education Ministry of Education Svetlana Mihnevich, to pay for access to the databases of international scientific journals state tried to get a grant from the World Bank, but failed.

“The issue is considered, let’s think about how to solve the problem ‒ turned Mihneavich to university representatives. ‒ I have to say that we cannot expect to the public money in this case. Suggest what else can be sources of financing. Perhaps, indeed, should be united. “


The good rating positions as a way to attract foreign students
The participation in the ranking of universities primarily provides competitiveness, the recognition of diplomas at the international level, said the regional director of the rating agency QS World University Rankings for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Zoya Zaitseva.

“When graduates enter the international labor market or deal with foreign partners, they do not need to spend time and tell them about university, for example, about the BSU. People in the case of high positions in the ranking of the universities will know that this is the best university in Belarus. This means that at the graduate priori is a sign of quality “, ‒ said Zoya Zaitseva.

In many ways, the rankings are the tool of choice of a program ‒ the youth look through ranking, evaluating universities as the potential of their careers. In this sense, subject rankings are also im-portant when evaluated reputation in a particular field, it is especially important for undergraduates and postgraduates, said the representative of the rating agency.

She noted that a good place in the rankings ‒ a way to attract foreign students. And thus, the partic-ipation of Belarus in the Bologna process opens good prospects for the country. But if earlier the Belarusian universities had to fight only for Belarusian students, but now they need to compete with universities in other countries.

According to UNESCO, the number of Belarusian students studying abroad has increased from 2001 to 2015, more than five times. Today, more than 35 thousand Belarusian students train abroad.

At 10 thousand population of Belarus for 37 students studying abroad. Experts consider that this is evidence of dissatisfaction with the quality of national education of Belarusians.




Translated and edited by Anastasia Misnik and Marissa Buffo

About Yuri Drazdow (80 Articles)
Yuri Drazdow is the founder and owner of The Minsk Herald. He is also a journalist specialising in area of business and politics. He has degrees in Journalism and Software Engineering and has been working on media and IT projects in Minsk and London.
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