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The Belarus K-12 Education System

The Ministry of Education manages the K-12 education system in Belarus. It approves the curricula and other requirements related to K-12 education in Belarus. The K-12 education system in Belarus starts with preschool education, followed by 9-year compulsory education, and then upper secondary education or vocational education.

K-12 Education Stats

General secondary education institutions in Belarus: 3077
Also, there are 9 boarding schools for children without parental care and orphans, 17 sanatorium boarding schools, 10 private-owned general secondary education institutions, and 17 other ministries & department general secondary education institutions.

Vocational education institutions: 185

State-owned special education institutions: 219

Source: Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus (2014-15)

Understanding the K-12 Education System in Belarus

Pre-school Education

Preschool education in Belarus is optional, and is offered by nursery schools, kindergartens, play groups and kindergarten-nurseries. There are public as well as private preschool institutions in Belarus. This educational level provides a school-type learning environment, and word towards the mental and physical development of children. This level introduced the country’s language and culture to the children; inculcate basic habits of healthy living, and develop their creative potential.
  • Nursery schools are for children up to 3 years of age
  • Kindergartens are for children aged 3 to 6 years.

Compulsory Education

Compulsory education in Belarus last for 9 years, and encompasses primary and basic secondary education. 

General Secondary Education

General secondary education in Belarus is divided into three levels:
  • Primary education, which covers grades 1 to 4
  • Basic secondary education, which covers grades 5 to 10
  • Upper secondary education, which covers grades 10 to 12

Primary Education

Primary education in Belarus is compulsory. This educational level imparts basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills and also provides basic knowledge about nature, society and man. This level develops the overall personality of the child. 
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 6 to 10
  • Grades: 1 to 4
Curriculum: Mathematics, Belarusian language, arts and crafts, man and the world, Russian language, visual arts, foreign language, physical training, Belarus history, and music. 

Basic Secondary Education

Basic secondary education in Belarus is compulsory. This educational level continues the primary level programmes, although it is more subject-focussed with specialist teachers teaching different subjects.
  • Duration: 5 years
  • Ages: 10 to 15
  • Grades: 5 to 10
Curriculum: Mathematics, biology, Belarusian language and literature, physics, world artistic culture, man and society, chemistry, Russian language and literature, geography, world history, foreign language, physical training, Belarus history, technical drawing, social sciences, world history, data processing, specialized training, computer studies, physical education, and music.

Certificate awarded: Students who pass the exams are awarded the “Certificate of Basic Education”. Students who hold the “Certificate of Basic Education” can go for upper secondary education in gymnasiums or lyceums, vocational education or specialized secondary education. 

Upper Secondary Education

Upper secondary education in Belarus is not compulsory to attend. Students who have completed basic secondary education can go for upper secondary education. This educational level is offered by gymnasium and lyceums. Gymnasium offers in-depth humanitarian education and focuses on the study of foreign languages. Lyceums provide professionally-oriented education and are generally affiliated with research or higher education institutions.
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Ages: 15 to 17
  • Grades: 10 to 12
Curriculum: Mathematics, biology, Belarusian language and literature, physics and astronomy, chemistry, initial military and health training, Russian language and literature, geography, world history, foreign language, Belarus history, social sciences, world history, computer studies, physical education and health.
Certificate awarded: Certificate of complete General Secondary Education

Secondary Vocational Education

Vocational education provides pupils professional skills and work habits, along with general education. Students must have completed the 9-year general secondary education in order to enter vocational education.  
  • Duration: 1 to 3 years
Vocational education in Belarus is offered in different types of educational institutions/schools:

Vocational-technical schools: These schools provide 1 to 2 year programme that leads to the Certificate of professional qualification. These schools also provide 3-year programmes that lead to diploma of general secondary education and vocational training.

Professional lyceums: These institutions offer 3-year programmes that lead to diploma of general secondary education and vocational training.

Vocational and technical colleges: These institutions offer 3 to 4 year programmes for training the middle-level specialist, and 2 to 3 years post-secondary courses for graduates of grade 11.

Specialized Secondary Education

Specialized secondary education is a component of vocational education. This education is offered by technicums, professional secondary schools, college of arts, linguistic colleges, vocational and higher colleges. 
  • Duration: 3 to 4 years
Fields: Communications, industry, public education, transport, economics, construction, health care, agriculture, arts and culture, and physical education and sports.

Certificate awarded: Diploma of Secondary Specialized Education. 
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