BOSS Manifesto on Student Activism

In countless countries around the world, students are a progressive force that positively contribute to their local environment and their nations’ development. From Chile to Germany students continue to struggle to be included in the decision-making that is shaping their own education and educational institutions. The students of Belarus are the same as their peers in other countries and should be heard when decisions are being made regarding their own situation and academic development.

Rather than subjective opinion or lofty ideals students’ contribution to governing educational institutions ensure that the Belarusians of the future also inherit the feeling of responsibility for their own nation.

Student representatives are not chosen by election in the traditional sense; At some universities the management chooses the student that is supposed to be a member of the board in the student democracy, in others students have to collect a set amount of signatures to be chosen. Open systems where everyone gets to be a part of the decision-making process exist, but these are few. The motivation to join is often not the interest for the student cause (.. and with appointments rather than elections recent polling has shown a dissatisfaction with the existing institutions. Half of the respondents answered that none of the current institutions represent their issues, with 4/5ths seeing a need for improvement and more than 50% calling for their financial independence.

Overall, it is hard for students in Belarus to get engaged in their own educational matters, because the system is designed in a manner that  is not conducive to individual and collective engagement. Also, their studies allow for few or no options to choose from and each student has to work very hard. Many Belarusians choose to study abroad, as they among other things, consider this as a better option for their personal academic development. Dissatisfied with the current quality of higher education and the lack of academic progress students lack proper advancement within their respective fields. Students are often also forced by their economic circumstances to work beside their already time consuming studies to be able to cater to their basic needs. These grave problems cannot be solved without the participation of students in decision-making processes.

The students body of self governance wants to change this and will work towards:

  1. Expanding the sphere of student involvement and making the barrier of student participation smaller.
  2. Elected representatives in all boards and committees that deals directly with student-related topics.
  3. Continuous efforts towards the further development of a democratic student organ with democratic and transparent elections for all students of Belarus
  4. Working towards the recognition and legal status for ссу (студенческого самоуправления) as a formal representative of the students in higher education with the political and legal consequences that this status entails
  5. Partake in the implementation of the ministry of educations’  goals that are relevant for students and others connected to higher education and Assist in the governments` efforts in the development of the requirements of the Bologna process
  6. Educate the members and create a culture of participation of ссу in the further development of the organization

 The time is ripe for Belarusian students to be included in the decision-making processes that have direct consequences for their own academic progress. The future student democracy will seek to provide student-oriented services and political representation at the national and local levels of educational institutions. This, however, will not come about without the direct action and participation of the students themselves. We therefore call upon you, the Belarusian student, to join us in developing policies that concern your own academic progress.

 

12.09.2014 - 20:29