beyond the age of 18 pay fees for their tuition as well as their living costs. In our country further education is associated with postgraduate studies, the level which assumes to a larger extent a lot of research work, acquiring knowledge of new methodologies and new trends. Thus in Section I we’ll start dis- cussing the university education in our country and abroad and in Section II proceed to academic degrees and postgraduate studies. Belarus: Education in the 21 st Century Many countries consider education a major vehicle of social advancement. Training of highly qualified specialists, capable of solving the most complex problems of modern society is the main priority of higher education. The efforts of our scientists have always been focused on the fundamental problems of humanities, natural and social sciences. Knowledge, science and culture open the prospects into the future for every person. At the end of the century the system of higher and further education in Belarus underwent a process of great reforms. They were initiated to provide closer links between education and technological needs of industry. New goals were set to link higher education more directly to the economy, improve the quality of scientific research, provide educational and research institutions with more modern technology and new laboratory facilities. The major significance of the reforms was to move toward the democratization of university administration and the “humanitarization” of the educational process in terms of students individual aptitudes and needs. A distinguishing feature of our universities is that they are becoming internationally oriented. We have joined the European Cultural Convention which enables us to participate in all projects concerning higher and further education, academic mobility and recognition of qualification. The universities also expand their cooperation with such authoritative international organizations as UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The need to make education more democratic and universal arises from the fact that our country is integrating with the European community. In this respect educators have to think of how our universities should educate their students about the rest of the world. The world in which most adult Belarusians grew to maturity no longer exists. The cold war is over. Issues such as environment, ex-
7 changes rate, and economic competition, public health, national security, poverty, population control, and human rights affect every country domestically as well as internationally. Under these circumstances attending to domestic needs requires understanding of national, cultural, and socioeconomic boundaries. The characteristic feature and the main trend in modern higher ad further education is not only to check students knowledge but develop their abilities and creative thinking. Today’s scientific and technological progress demands of the university graduates to be prepared to deepen their knowledge individually and adapt themselves quickly to the changes in the branches or science or industry they have chosen as their speciality or research. In addition to offering programs based on traditional academic disciplines, higher education must develop problem-focused programs of study that are more practical than theoretical and are oriented around problems of the real world. Much has already been done and is being done to transform the national system of education. A wide range of non-state schools, colleges and institutes have been introduced. There have been certain curriculum changes starting from 1992. Some higher educational establishments began changing tuition in the above-mentioned direction. Of course, university education in Belarus still faces a great variety of problems, connected with implementation of new disciplines, retraining of the faculty, reorienting university policies and programs towards new goals. But if we want to prosper in the new environment of the st century, our universities must truly orient themselves around new goals. None of these goals will be achieved quickly and easily but the benefits of putting them in place will far exceed the efforts required. 1. What is the role of education in modern society Has it changed a lot with a course of time 2. At the turn of the century higher and further education underwent great reforms. What are these reforms aimed at 3. What are the distinguishing features and the main trends in higher and further education 4. What does the need to make universities more democratic and internationally oriented arise from 5. Why is it necessary to develop creative thinking What are the ways of achieving this goal 6. What difficulties do we face on the way of reforming the system of education 7. Do you agree that reforming the system of education we shouldn’t forget our national interests and values in education We must preserve all the achievements of the previous school not to destroy the whole system.