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Resolution of the V Festival of non-formal education
(5-6 of December 2014, Minsk
)

 In the last decade the sphere of non-formal education in Belarus develops especially dynamically, increases the number of organizations that realize programs and/or provide services of non-formal education to the population. Today in Belarus the sphere of non-formal education is presented by different organizations and establishments of nonprofit, business and public sector. Providers of the sphere of non-formal education differ in a variety of approaches, principles and the ways of providing services and realizing programs. However, parallel to a variety of approaches we note similarity of global purposes towards which their efforts, programs and services are finally directed.  The discussion within the Festival of non-formal education confirms that such purposes are aspiration to make a contribution to development of society and improvement of the population quality of life. The category “public benefit” becomes the uniting beginning for all providers of non-formal education.

The variety at the level of approaches, principles and the ways of providing services creates more space to a consumer for a choice of the product that is most suitable for him.  However, the difference of organizations of the sphere of non-formal education for legal form of ownership and legal status often puts them into unequal situations in the frame of existing today conditions, which define possibilities of activity implementation by the organizations for providing educational services to legal entities and citizens. There are no preferences and tax remissions for the organizations of various proprietary forms working in the sphere of additional education of adults and informal education. It sidelines organizations to expand access to programs of non-formal education of various population categories, especially in regions.

We remark that at the legislative level the concept “non-formal education” didn’t find its fixation in the Code of Republic of Belarus about education that came into force in 2011. In the Code it’s mentioned only about “additional education of children and youth” and “additional education of adults”. Along with the Code about Education additional education in Belarus is regulated by Resolutions of Council of Ministers of Republic of Belarus and also by provisions and instructions of the Ministry of education as coordinating department of state police implementation in this sphere. At the same time the main part of providers of non-formal education among non-public, commercial and non-commercial organizations regulate their relationships with consumers of educational services by market mechanism within the Civil Code, or they are offered on a grant basis (f. ex., public associations).

In regions, especially in country sides, practically there is no institutional infrastructure for affording access to educational services of various social groups. There are some opportunities in those locations where the activity towards informal education is shown by the establishments of social sphere and culture and also by non-governmental organizations. Unfortunately commercial entities aren’t interested to go to regions in large quantities yet.

It’s safe to say that non-formal education becomes an important component of educational system of our country. But it must be admitted that social utility, a role and possibilities of non-formal education with the solution of social and economic problems, improvement of quality of life are still fully not realized neither by the state nor the society. And without a solution of a number of system problems non-formal education will hardly be able to move to a new qualitative level and fully to use the potential for development of personality, society and the state. And it’s possible, having only combined efforts of concerned parties.

Proposals of the participants of the V Festival of non-formal education

  • To pay more attention to the study of the sphere of non-formal education in Belarus, to provide state support and to fit researches into long-term plans in order to contribute to a better understanding of an overall context in which non-formal education in Belarus develops, to assist bigger motivation of programs and services of non-formal education in conformity with the results and conclusions of researches.
  • To promulgate and advance non-formal education in social conscience, to create trend and demand for educational services and programs among population through strengthening of informing and communication from the organizations that are engaged in non-formal education.
  • To advance effective contents, forms and methods of civic education in order to form Belarusian civil society.
  • To increase service availability of non-formal education for various categories of citizens including people with disabilities; to advance services of non-formal education in regions, especially in country sides.
  • Through strengthening of a dialogue with authorities to promote a) creation of favorable frame conditions for activity of the organizations of the sphere of non-formal education regardless of forms of ownership including through enabling these organizations opportunities for receiving budget financing (f. Ex. within  realization of mechanism of the state social order); b) recognition of socially useful nature of activity of  organizations of various forms of ownership and affording them  opportunities for receiving privileges in taxation.

 

For implementation of above-mentioned proposals participants of the V Festival of non-formal education consider necessary:

–                     Continuation of discussion on development of the bill “About socially useful activity”;

–                     Simplification of a procedure of receiving and use of foreign free aid and also international technical assistance;

–                     Distribution of standards of the state social order for training programs in the actual directions for the state and society;

–                     Introduction of regulations on importance of support of the sphere of non-formal education within realization and for the achievement of the objectives of the National strategy of sustainable social and economic development till 2030, it’s a project that is submitted for public discussion;

–                     Development and acceptance at the level of professional community recommended standards of programs in the sphere of non-formal education;

–                     Carrying out through joint efforts of the different interested organizations and structures of information campaigns directed on development of culture in the education through whole life;

–                     Creation at the Ministry of education of the Public Council in the sphere of additional education of adults involving representatives of public, business and the state interest group. 

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