23 September 2019, Monday, 4:35
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Cuckoo Сlocks Or Not

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Cuckoo Сlocks Or Not
Iryna Khalip

Belarusian education is the most Soviet education in the world.

- I went to school, not in the first grade, but in "zero", - a young friend told me recently. - After the fourth grade, we made it to the sixth, but we studied for two years in the ninth grade. It was called just the ninth grade, and the second year was the ninth'. During those two years, we studied with the same textbooks. We just pounded the program two years in a row. So I made it through all the school reforms.Everything is fine, dear youth. Everything is calming down. No more sudden movements are needed. The current generation of Soviet people will live under communism, for sure. There were many attempts to change something in education, and most of them were failing. Many generations of schoolchildren grew up, and they never understood what ministry officials were trying to do to them. Sometimes the right decisions were made by chance as if a blind chicken found grain in a pile. But now education will fine. We are finally turning back to the Soviet system, which was based on falsifications and whitewash. In short, it was based on lies. The Communist, who heads the Ministry of Education, will like it. He dreams of such a school with lots of carefully filled in papers. The more useless these papers are, the more attractive and harmonious the education system looks for everyone who misses the USSR.

In the first days of the school year, the Minister of Education said that, among other surprises, the Education Code is being amended to make secondary education compulsory. That is, now everyone who was going to work after the ninth grade will have to go to vocational and technical institutions. To get a certificate of secondary education, as it is required by the new code. I don't know why. I guess it's done to attract a cheap labour force. This is not how the solitaire works.

There will be a queue of qualified workers for good jobs with high wages. Schoolchildren who have been forced into vocational institutions by law are not needed there at all. And the vacancies that need sixteen-year-olds - couriers, ad stickers, car washers - do not need a certificate. To say nothing of work on the Internet. Requirements on part-time work for minors have long turned into a fiction. Who will count how much time a former student spent on throwing advertisements in mailboxes? Moreover, according to the Labour Code, employment contracts can be concluded with citizens of 16 years old or 14 years old upon the consent of parents. But does Minister Karpenka think that all ninth-graders only dream of getting a job at a car wash? He should know that this is not what they are dreaming of. Children from families with low income (their number is increasing in Belarus) have to go to work to help their own families. Maybe they want to get an education, but the money is needed today. They have to set all plans by, and to get the certificate without attending classes, preparing for exams at night. The state wants to make these young people sit in vocational institutions, that will take one year more to get the certificate. However, they will ignore it anyway. The Ministry doesn't need it. It may register students automatically. Guys will go to work, but the minister will have a beautiful juicy report on tens of thousands of potential workers who sat down at the desks of vocational institutions on September 1. Everything was the same in the Soviet Union. But it did not help it.

I still remember how the head teacher, Maria Vasilievna, came to our graduating class with a thick notebook and demanded us to answer what vocational institution we would enter. None of our students was going there. The head teacher knew it very well. However, somewhere high in the mountains, there was a big boss, who received all these thick notebooks from every school of the Soviet Union. I tried to resist and said that I had no other plans but to enter the university.

- And if you don't enter? Maria Vasilievna asked me.

- I will go to work!

- No, you won't go to work. No one will hire you without a vocational school!

- Then why do we get working professions at the lessons?

- This is not your business!

Finally, I gave up. I told the head teacher and the giggling class that I would go to the watchmakers' vocational school. The satisfied head teacher left to torture another class. A classmate asked: "Do you want to fix cuckoo clocks or not?"

The cuckoo clocks never met me. They will never meet the current schoolchildren. They will be cuckooing in the department offices like their forest sisters, counting down the years of grey, boring and completely senseless life of officials.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org