Authorities hope to join Bologna process without fulfilling basic requirements
First Education Deputy Minister Bogush said that the Education Ministry had sent a request to the Bologna Secretariat to join the Bologna process and gain access to the European Higher Education Area.
The Belarusian authorities’ position about the country’s accession to the Bologna process is controversial, but they are prompted to respond to community-based initiatives to join the EHEA hoping to make Belarusian education more attractive to international students. In 2012 Belarus made its first attempt to join the Bologna process, which failed and prompted her to make some ‘cosmetic’ changes to the higher education system. These changes however do not relate to such fundamental principles as academic freedom, institutional autonomy or student participation in administration of higher education.
Following crackdown and arrests of participants in the spring protests, the authorities resumed arrests as punishment for participating in street protests in addition to fines, which for some time were the only punishment for political activity. On September 22nd, 2017, the riot police detained the Belarusian National Congress leader Nikolai Statkevich, the opposition politician was placed in detention centre on Akrestin street. On the same day, after serving seven days of arrest, another BNC leader, Vladimir Neklyaev, was released. He was sentenced for organising a street protest on September 8th against the West-2017 exercises. Other participants in the protest have been fined too. The authorities are likely to continue to use fines and arrests against political activists to punish for their protest activity.