Belarusian authorities attempt to mitigate public response to innovations in education
Education officials have managed to relax tension in society and reduce negative expectations from yet another attempt to reform the education system. Apparently, the authorities have taken into account teachers’ views while reforming the education system in order to retain their loyalty. The Belarusian leadership has become more sensitive to public response to its initiatives; it keeps its finger on the pulse of changes introduced in the most sensitive social spheres.
The Belarusian Education Ministry has reviewed school curricula on all subjects before the new academic year.
Innovations in the educational process and school curricula have not caused visible tension among parents and the teaching staff. The authorities are not willing to create tension over reforms in education, so as the teaching staff would make a lion’s share of the lower-level election commission members during the autumn-winter election campaign.
That said, education analysts have primarily criticised innovations in humanitarian subjects, which were subjected to most cuts, often contradictory, in the school curriculum. The Belarusian leadership always notes the need to focus the educational process on practical aspects to ensure the real economy has sufficient labour resources.
In addition, by simplifying the school curriculum, the education authorities attempt to increase average grades in graduate exams. Previously, knowledge levels demonstrated by graduates during the centralised testing were often criticised in independent media, drew disfavour from parents and hurt international reputation of the Belarusian education.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.