Since 2020, Belarusian education has become even more heavily politicized and centralized. Total government control has erased the last remnants of diversity and freedom: in 2022, in just a few weeks, almost all private schools were closed
. There weren’t exactly many of them to begin with (only 35), but they were important oases for innovative resource use and accountability.
Why do strict control and uniformity hurt education? Most obviously, they have a negative impact on students’ results. Data from a PISA global research study shows
that the more autonomy schools have to allocate resources, and the more accountable they are for results, the more students succeed.
When parents send their children to school or college, they hope that their kids will receive a good-quality education. But in practice, according to the findings of the PISA study, 15-year-old Belarusian schoolchildren display below-average results among the 79 participating countries across all categories: they got 474 in reading compared to an average of 487, and 472 and 471 in math and science respectively compared to an average of 489.
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to track the progress (or lack thereof) of Belarusian school-kids through PISA’s insights in the future, as we were excluded
from the project.