Dear readers,

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May these bright days bring joy, cosiness and warmth to your home. Let prosperity, good luck and health follow you and all your loved ones in the new year!

With best wishes,
«Asveta» digest team


A Roadmap for the democratization of higher education in Belarus has been prepared for a period of 50-100-500 days. The Road Map (hereinafter referred to as the Road Map) was developed by a group of experts and practitioners in the field of higher education on the initiative of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Office and with the support of the United Transitional Cabinet. This is a document that describes step by step the transition from an authoritarian system of higher education to a democratic one. The RM begins to operate from the moment of formation of the Transitional Government, and covers the first 500 days of the transitional period. The presented draft of the RM is open to the widest possible public and expert discussion, and the introduction of reasonable additions and changes. More information about the map and the full version of the document can be found here.

On December 4, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya made a speech at Yale University (USA). The moderator of the meeting with students was the famous historian Timothy Snyder, who specializes in the study of Central and Eastern European countries. Among other things, the meeting discussed a proposal to create a Belarusian center at Yale University and establish scholarships for Belarusian students and researchers.

The author of the book «Language 404» Alina Nahornaya presented the results of the study «Accessibility and discrimination of the Belarusian language in Belarus». During it, 482 people aged 15 to 72 years old speaking the Belarusian language in Belarus were interviewed. The survey focused on the availability of education, information and services in the Belarusian language. The study includes not only statistics, but also short stories of people from their personal experience.

A new textbook on the Belarusian language will soon be supplied to schools in Padlasie (Poland). This is a sixth grade elementary school textbook called «Word-by-Word». The book will be available to the Belarusian language teachers and parents who want their children to speak their native language. Read the interview with the author of the textbook, Belarusian language teacher Alina Vauraniuk, here.

The Center for Environmental and Social Development and the Social Information Institution «Zeleva» invite you to the course «School of Civil and Professional Competences». A course on how to take part in public life, how to develop projects, promote them and receive support, assemble a team and organize its work, etc. According to the organizers, the best project will receive financial support for implementation. The program is addressed to Belarusian activists living in the country. The training is free, applications are accepted until January 5, 2024. A more detailed course program and registration form can be found here.

In Vilnius, the conference “Rethinking Education: A Three-Year Journey from Needs Analysis to Reform Concepts (2020-2023)” took place. The event presented the main goals and intermediate results of the program “Belarusian Education on the Path of Change.” Following the conference, several tasks were identified that need to be taken into account in future work: effective coordination and communication between organisations, maintaining the motivation of stakeholders, overcoming restrictions on access to information and communication, and adapting the program to changing conditions. For more detailed information on the progress of the conference, the content of expert speeches, and other results of the event, you can read here.

On December 20, the “Vasminog” project completed the application process for the grant competition to support educational projects. According to the regulations, participants will receive a response regarding the status of their application (accepted or rejected) on February 1, 2024. Organisers also remind that for all questions related to the competition, you can contact them via email at grant.vasminoh@gmail.com.


In early December, 15 students from local educational institutions, including Pushkin State University, were detained in Brest. Raids were carried out in the university boarding school. Pro-government telegram channels claim that the detainees distributed Nazi, fascist, extremist materials and pornography on social networks, public pages and chats. According to open sources, at least four of those detained are in pre-trial detention.

On December 5-6, a series of searches and arrests took place in Mahiliou. It is associated with the recognition of several Mahiliou media resources as «extremist formations» (6TV Bielarus, Mahiliou Media and Mahiliou Region News). It is known that the former director of the Mahiliou History Museum Aliaksei Batsiukou was detained, and the ex-teacher of the Department of Archeology and History of Belarus at Moscow State University Aliaksandr Ageeu, local historian, candidate of pedagogical sciences Ihar Sharukha and the former editor-in-chief of the 6TV.bu portal Barys Vyrvich were raided. On December 15, one of the state TV channels aired a program in which the scientists and journalists were accused of «collaborating with an extremist formation». Their current status and whether any charges have been filed remain unknown at the time of publication.

On December 13, a show trial of two students of Brest University took place. The meeting took place in the main building, in classrooms belonging to the Faculty of Law. The trial was conducted by the judge of the Lenin District Court of Brest, Aliaksandr Semianchuk. The students were given 5 days of administrative arrest. After the trial, the students were gathered in a large auditorium, where the judge and the university vice-rector for academic affairs addressed them.

On December 15, Aleksey Semiantsou, associate professor of the Department of Communication Design of the Faculty of Sociocultural Communications of the Belarusian State University, was detained. One of the security forces’ Telegram channels published a «repentance» video in which Semiantsou admits that he allegedly participated in the 2020 protests and was subscribed to an «extremist» channel. According to the security forces, a denunciation was written against the teacher. Aliaksei Semiantsou worked at the university for 15 years.


Belarusian officials plan to edit the Education Code. Possible changes will affect the distribution of university graduates and the terms of study in the tenth grade. The authorities also want to introduce restrictions that will deprive individual entrepreneurs of the opportunity to provide preschool and special education services.

At the end of November, Minister of Education Andrei Ivanets announced an increase in tuition fees for students, and already in early December new prices appeared on university websites. You can read about how much prices have increased at the medical university and at the main IT university in Belarus here. Paid students must pay additional tuition fees between December 2023 and January 2024.

There are plans to open a joint Belarusian-Russian university in Minsk in the coming years. This issue is being studied by the Ministry of Education of Belarus and the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, as well as in the Academies of Sciences of both countries. It is expected that the university will train engineering specialists.

Deputy Minister of Education Aliaksandr Kadlubai said on the state TV channel that students of Belarusian military-patriotic clubs who successfully completed the program will receive preferences when entering cadet schools. The official emphasized that following the same «preferential trajectory» after cadet school, a student of the patriotic club can get into the Military Academy.

The educational departments of Belarus and Russia have agreed to hold common lessons in 2024, where Russian schoolchildren will be taught about Belarus, and Belarusian students – about Russia. According to Russian Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov, such lessons will help schoolchildren in grades 1-11 «to learn once again about the Union State, about our fraternal people of the Republic of Belarus».

Propaganda events continue in Belarus, in which schoolchildren and students are involved in one way or another. At a school in Kletsk district there is a military-patriotic club, whose members participate in various events, and at the same time dress in the uniform of the Russian youth movement YouthArmy. And with students of several Belarusian universities they held a round table in support of Palestine. Portraits of Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and Lukashenko were used in the decoration of the event, and the actions of the Israeli army were called «genocide» in information materials. 

At the beginning of December, the «business» game «Trial of Extremism» took place at the children’s educational and health camp «Zubrenok». The event was attended by schoolchildren from the «Club of Future Voters» squad. The goal of the game was stated to be «creating conditions for the formation of a stable negative position in relation to manifestations of extremism among students». The format implied a complete simulation of a trial – with the participation of a judge, defendants, lawyers, witnesses, victims, and so on.

Another topic to which propaganda events in schools were devoted was the 105th anniversary of the formation of the BSSR. Thus, in secondary school No. 3 in the city of Berezina, on the eve of the date, a historical excursion, round tables and hours of communication were held on the topic «The BSSR – our memory for centuries». A dialogue platform was held at Slutsk State Medical College, where a representative of the so-called youth parliament spoke.

Svislach gymnasium No. 1, the only one in Belarus that bore the name of the leader of the uprising of 1863−1864. Kastus Kalinouski was renamed in honor of Komsomol underground member Pasha Vasilenko. The gymnasium was founded more than 200 years ago. Kastus Kalinouski graduated from it in 1856. Since 1987, the school bore his name, and until 2020, schoolchildren from Poland regularly came here on excursions. Before the renaming of the gymnasium, there was also a school museum with an exhibition dedicated to the theme of the uprising and the life of Kalinouski.

In early December, security forces detained 15 students of Brest State University, and on December 8, employees of the Lenin District Department of Internal Affairs spoke to BrSU students. Students were warned about the meeting an hour in advance, with the note «attendance is required». As those present at the lecture said, the discussion was about why «you can’t read extremist resources», and also about the fact that the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth «are in fact in no way connected with Belarus». The security forces also commented on the detention of students, emphasising that everyone «has their own digital trace» and that everyone can be found. The meeting ended with a brief overview of responsibility for drug trafficking, prostitution and pedophilia.

Students, schoolgirls and teachers of the college and university told the «Solidarity» about the changes that have occurred in educational institutions in the current academic year. The interlocutors told reporters about facial recognition cameras, an increase in the number of ideological and propaganda events, a reduction in international student programs, as well as the ongoing layoffs of teachers and staff of educational institutions amid a general shortage of personnel. The full version of the material can be read here.