No decent education can exist under the dictatorship.
While parents of first-grade pupils draw numbers on palms with indelible pencils and come to the gymnasium at night, parents of graduates cry from happiness that these eleven years of stress, humiliating ones, are over. They can take a breath, if only their younger children still study there.
The entire week I'm attentively listening to stories of my friends whose children have just graduated. One of them brought water and cookies for teachers for the first exam in the gymnasium: they will sit there and check works, let them have at least some water. Representatives of the gymnasium looked at her with neglect and added: "What poor snacks did you bring? Where are sandwiches, candies and yogurt?" And everyone failed to come up with the fact that teachers receive salaries for administering exams. Yes, it's not high enough, but it's a different story. After all, no one force them to work at school. And no law obeys parents to bring food for teachers during exams. But parent's position is humiliating from the very start. If you voice your opinion, who knows what revenge will take a child. That's why they rush to buy snacks in a store, dreaming of leaving it all behind as soon as possible. "Ten days left to suffer and this hell is over", they calm themselves down.
The second friend just leaves Belarus, her child is still not graduating. The gymnasium required only the transcript of performance, no worries and minimum of body movements. But after passing through this administrative chain bottom-upwards, she got nothing but expressive phrases: it's so complex... It's not as simple as it seems... Come here again in a month, we'll see what we can do." And finally the mother made it to the principal. The principal repeated the story about challenges with issuing the transcript of performance and said: "However, I see your point and, perhaps, can help you. Our delegation goes to Vilnius. You can go to Kristall store and buy several bottles of cognac for them for the trip, and we will fill in the transcript." What do you think comes next? She rushed to buy drinks. She later confessed, if she was even extorted bribe, it would not be so humiliating comparing this ride to the liquor store.
The third become an outcast only because she had refused to donate money to buy a laptop as a gift for a homeroom teacher for her birthday. She said that gift was too expensive and it's vulgar. Not at all, parents insisted that it's natural in their gymnasium. However, everyone of us can tell the story of this kind, like Scheherazade. Meanwhile, parents of first-grade pupil will spend a thousand and one night at student registration to make it to the same gymnasiums, then to the slavery of eleven years to throw parties, run to liquor stores and buy laptops for homeroom teachers.
I agree that abolition of exams in gymnasiums resulted in increased corruption, because all parents feel themselves bounded. And at the same time I agree that the very existence of enrollment testing for five-grades was humiliating and hurting, because our education system aims at hurting children. Not matter how hard the resistance of adherents and opponents of exams is (verbal battles have been lasting for more than a year), no one will oneself right in the situation. Both variants are bad.
Because if Stalin monument loses a finger, it will remain the very monument but with no finger. It should be dropeed down and broken into pieces. And the enrollment to gymnasiums is the same finger. It's a problem of one thousandth percent in the education system. And it's useless to blow the problem way out of proportion. In turn, the education is only one of problems of the state system. No education reform can occur under the dictatorship. No decent education can exist under the dictatorship. No normal education schedule can be reached under the dictatorship. One can use the Education Code in every way, abolish and adopt exams, accept ten, eleven or even twelve years at school, cancell subject-oriented classes and to accept them again, nothing will change. Guys, you fail to escape from the paragraph "Aliaksandr Lukashenka's contribution to the development of science" of social studies and priests with thuribles, from the BRYU, Young Lifeguard magazine, from the choice between high grades and personal opinion.
Small business theory does not work under the dictatorship, please, remember it. The choice is as follows: either to accept and keep silent or to break the Stalin monument into pieces.
Iryna Khalip, specially for Charter97.org