Thursday, June 28, 2007

Notes from Polessy State University…

The president during a visit to Pinsk's Polessy State University in early September of last year. Our contributing author stands just to the president's left.
Olya S is a friend whom I met a couple of years while giving occasional speeches at the banking college here in Pinsk. I had been invited originally because I was a friend of one of the teachers, because I was a native speaker and because I was so very interesting, being at the time basically the only American resident in town. I was asked to speak mostly about doing business in America and about my personal experiences but speaking on political subjects was not frowned upon because they were of interest to the students.

Earlier this spring I ran into Olya near the market and during our conversation she expressed an interest in what I was doing on the internet. I explained about how the BEING HAD Times worked and how I try to allow for stories both for and against- the idea being that there was a huge gap between in country and out of country opinion and that a real answer could probably be found somewhere in the middle. When she said she was interested in helping, we came up with a several ideas for essays, written from her perspective as an aspiring economist/student in the Belarusian system.

The following was from a series of short interviews made with her fellow students. The students were asked how they felt in general about their position in life in regards to the university, their future and about dealing with the obligatory distribution system.

The state distribution system spoken of here refers to a two year work obligation for students who receive free education. The program requires that the students apply for (accept) jobs from a list of opportunities around Belarus. These jobs would not necessarily end after the two year period, but that is the length of the initial obligation. Amongst the complaints of this system were from students asked to work in places such as near the Chernobyl region where there is fear of radiation. This obligation does not apply to certain "elite" qualifiers such as those who had achieved high rankings in specialties or academics before coming to the university, or to those who pay tuitions.

Olga said that the students differed in their attitudes towards their futures. Some had given much thought as to what they would need to do to find either individual success or to participate successfully in the betterment of their country. Others, she said, did not seem to think of the future at all. Some, as you will see believe very highly in the Belarusian state and in their responsibility to their motherland. Others tended to gripe about their two year obligation, saying that it took too much time away from their attaining individual goals. Still others were against the state programs and interventions into the educational system in general. All however had a genuine love for their country and took great pride in being Belarusian. She also said that none of the students felt any particular fear about answering the question posed or having their opinions posted on the internet.

I am presenting Olga's notes basically as I have received them. For herself, Olga says that her dreams are very much like Vera's, she dreams of being entrepreneurial and would like to open a café. This survey was taken about a month ago. The students as of this moment are involved in their final exams. I have only edited mildly for grammar as the original notes were written, quite well actually, in English.

Vova: After graduation from the university, first of all I see myself in the army. In my opinion, I see this as a very important and necessary thing. I am proud of my country and love my native land. After, I will go to work in the banking sphere according to the distribution plan and will do my best for the development and growth of our economy.

Dima: Frankly speaking, I have a hard time imagining my future exactly. Our country is in crisis because the government intervenes in its development in many aspects. For this reason, I am not satisfied with the powers of the Belarusian state. I do have a sweet dream though. I would like to open my own, private business in the nation's capital and to work for myself.

Olga: We usually say that all roads are open before our graduates. And to my happiness, in my opinion young people in Belarus do have a lot of opportunities for work. But then again, it is always nice to be well paid and to have a chance to do what you enjoy doing. And this is a problem because as a rule, young specialists do not make a lot of money, even though they may need more than some others.

Katye: I believe in a not too distant bright future for my country and I am going to do as much as possible for it. I am satisfied with the state program an I am ready to work according to this plan after graduating from the university.

Rita: I want to be useful for our society and to make a career in the banking sphere. Unfortunately, there is now state distribution among paying students.

Vera: I would like to open my own café because I don't believe in the state program of our government. To my mind it prevents our economy from normal growth and development. I believe we should widen our trade relations with highly developed countries and to try and take experience from them in many respects. Our country should also try and become more attractive with foreign investors.

Zahar: Many jobs not only require higher education but also practical skills and this is something I worry about. Where can any young specialist gain job experience? For this reason we should pay more attention to allowing for independent work of our students and invest more in practical studies rather than just theory.

Slava: In my opinion the government pays much attention to our education and work. Because of this, we should only make the right choice and choose one of the hundreds of jobs available within the system. And then, once we are employed, we should do as much as possible for the development and growth of Belarus.

Denis: After graduation from my university, I would like to take a job only in the banking sphere. Owing to our state program, every year the business of banking becomes more and more profitable. And as for my personal involvement, I would like to help with the realization of a financial supermarket in Belarus.

Tanya: To my mind economics is the science of making choices which are based upon the facts of our everyday lives. I am very interested in this science and want to be successful in this sphere. In my opinion, the state program gives many possibilities for an individual's success. Our government assists for the potential growth of the Belarusian economy in many respects. I am a young specialist, ready to be a part of the state program because its main aim is the growth of national wealth and the raising of the quality of life for the people of Belarus.

Masha: I don't agree with the state program of compulsory job distribution for students whose education was free of charge. Every student must have an opportunity to choose their work according to their wishes and skills. Only in this case with they genuinely make a real effort, work efficiently and show real results.

Igor: I don't imagine my future at all because in my opinion, we are in crisis. This crisis is not only economical but also moral. Our government does not support the poor part of the Belarusian population. In addition, it is difficult for young people to begin their adult lives because of the problems of finding a job and how little money we receive.

  • Note: No blog Friday. Be back Sunday evening my time. Have a good weekend.

    More soon…