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URL: http://en.belapan.by/archive/2015/05/14/776941_776943/
Print out date: 28.09.2016 18:19
14.05.2015 12:32 Society, Belarus — EU

Belarus joins Bologna Process

By Anastasiya Salanovich, Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN
Minsk, 14 May. Belarus has been formally admitted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and joined the Bologna Process.
A decision to grant Belarus’ application for EHEA membership was made during the Ninth Bologna Process Ministerial Conference and the Fourth Bologna Policy Forum in Yerevan, Armenia, on May 14.
Speaking during the conference, the education ministers of Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Iceland expressed concern about the situation in Belarus and stressed that Belarus should meet the requirements of the roadmap for its accession to the EHEA.
Iceland’s Education Minister Illugi Gunnarsson stressed that the implementation of the roadmap was a mandatory and not an optional requirement. It is necessary to closely follow the situation in Belarus to see whether Belarusian authorities respect academic freedoms, ensure student mobility and uphold human rights in general, he said.
Belarus formally applied to join the European Higher Education Area in December 2011. At a meeting held in Copenhagen in January 2012, the Bologna Follow-Up Group blocked Belarus’ accession bid for three years. According to the Group’s assessment, Belarus did not respect the principles and values of the Bologna Process such as academic freedom, institutional autonomy and student participation in higher education governance.
Belarusian authorities dismissed the accusations, describing the Group’s decision as politically motivated.
Belarus submitted its second application in November 2014. At the beginning of 2015, Education Minister Mikhail Zhurawkow expressed certainty that the application would be granted "in a calm fashion, without a fuss."
Belarus was the only European country excluded from the club of 47 nations involved in the EHEA.
Commenting on the decision made in Yerevan on Thursday, Mr. Zhurawkow described it as an “important and responsible step in the development of the national education system.” Belarus` new status reflects the “high level of the Belarusian education system” and calls for drastic “reform and renewal,” he said.
The country’s admission to the European Higher Education Area shows that its higher education system has been internationally recognized and confirms that its education model is competitive and can be integrated into the global education system, Mr. Zhurawkow said.

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