Higher Engineering Education in Belarus 651
Engineering is an essential part of everyday life. The products of engineers are all around us – computers, cars, aircraft, roads, bridges, medical equipment and much more. Engineers are constantly looking for solutions that are faster, safer, stronger, more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more economical.
The education system of any country is responsible for producing new generations of engineers capable of applying scientific knowledge and practical experience to produce things that benefit people. Higher engineering education in Belarus is provided by a number of universities, including the Belarusian National Technical University, the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, the Belarusian State Technological University, the Belarusian State University of Transport, Brest State Technical University and others. The universities offer specialist training in a wide range of fields – electronic and electrical engineering, mechanical, civil and nuclear engineering, chemical and environmental engineering and so on.
Engineering and technology education is offered on full-time and part-time basis. The undergraduate curriculum of each institution integrates fundamentals of natural sciences, engineering science and mathematics with engineering practice aspects. Lectures, seminars, practical and laboratory classes allow students to get scientific knowledge and practical skills in different subject areas. The teaching staff provide students with academic guidance and help to form a professional outlook.
An academic year begins in autumn and is divided into two terms. Students are assessed at the end of each term through a pass-fail system and examinations.
It is essential that students are taught a habit of lifelong learning to function productively as professional engineers over the full course of their careers. Belarusian universities offer a wide range of scholarships, summer placements, and employment opportunities. Standard university accommodation in the halls of residence is also available for many undergraduates.
Students normally graduate after 4 or 5 years with the Diploma of Higher Education. However, today’s employers want more than a diploma holder – they want graduates who have developed a range of skills and qualities appropriate for modern industry. After graduation students may go directly into employment or join one year Master’s programme. This is an important step for a career in research.
All universities in Belarus are research-based institutions and offer a wide range of postgraduate degree programmes. Postgraduate students undertake significant research working closely with a supervisor from the academic staff. By the end of the course they produce a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge.
As the needs of industry change Belarusian universities continually revise their curricula to reflect both the latest developments in engineering education and in technology.