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E-learning in Belarus: problems and prospects

Author: Mikhail Doroshevich


The fourth round table discussion within the framework of joint UNDP-Belarusian government programme "ICT Support to Parliament" which took place in Minsk on the 28th of June this year was devoted to the issues of using ICT in education. Belarusian and foreign experts, members of Belarusian parliament, representatives of educational institutions and busineses and other stakeholders participated in the discussion.

Participants of the discussion agreed that education is one of the main keys to economic development and improvements in human welfare. As global economic competition grows sharper, education becomes an important source of competitive advantage, closely linked to economic growth, and a way for countries to attract jobs and investment. All these factors have encouraged an interest in the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to deliver education and training. A number of Belarusian universities offer a mix of delivery methods using ICT. Generally, the goal is to widen access and tap into markets that cannot easily be reached with more traditional approaches. Some offer the same course online and in a classroom; others use a hybrid mix of electronic and traditional methods of delivery.

Educational institutions introducing e-learning encounter a number of common problems. One of the most important, as it was noted by the participants of the round table discussion is connected with legislative basis for this new form of learning.

Vladimir Krasovsky, Vice -rector of Belarusian State University of Informatics and radio electronics (BSUIR) sharing his experience of introducing distant education, noted that a proper legislative basis could foster introducing e-learning in educational process. At the same time , stressed V. Krasovski, neither distant education, nor e-kearning are mentioned in a new draft law on education.

Parlamentarians A. Nareiko, A.Losev, A. Gudkov, S. Semashko expressed great interest in the discussion and agreed that a new draft law on education should take into account various forms of distant learning.

Foreign experts focused on legislative aspects of introducing of e-learning in higher educational institutions curriculum. I

Fedor Kravchenko, Internews Russia shared Russian experience of judicial regulation of e-learning sphere. Gulnara Krasnova (Distant Learning Institute, Moscow) presented analysis of the CIS countries experience of e-learning legal implementation and informed that Distant learning Institute is currently working out the model law on e-learning for the CIS countries.

Participants stressed the necessity for development of a comprehensive strategy of ICT implementing in education in general and e-learning introducing in particular. This strategy could be based both on Belarusian educational traditions and on international expertise in the sphere.

Useful links:

United Nations in Belarus
The House of Representatives
Link to video broadcasted on the First National Belarus TV Channel (see 28.06.2004 17:49)
Belarusian ICT market development future trends: a round table discussion at the Parliament
E-governance strategy for Belarus: a round - table discussion
Public and private sectors discuss e-strategy for Belarus

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