BYSOL: “Our main goal to support the young, not to brain-drain the country”

31 October 2020, 08:49 | BELSAT
BNTU [Belarusian National Technical University] students and teachers at a solidarity rally. 30 October. 
Source: BELSAT

The solidarity fund has announced it will financially support expelled students, help them enroll in foreign universities and colleges to continue their studies. 30 students turned to BYSOL for help over the past 24 hours

The solidarity fund will financially support students expelled from universities for their social and political views. 

“This amount paid to a student is based on the average scholarship across the country. Every student expelled on political grounds will get 200 euros which roughly equals to 4-month scholarship,” told Andrei Stryzhak, a Fund co-founder.

According to Mr. Stryzhak, supporting students is a new BYSOL activity, but it is not going to slow down the payments to those who lost their jobs. “We are not adding extra workload to the Fund verifiers, but building a new team that will be in charge of students’ applications only. We are doing our best to proceed the payments even faster.” 

In addition to financial support, the Fund promises to help the young Belarusians continue with their studies. At the moment, Vilnius University, European Humanities University, universities in Latvia and Slovakia are ready to welcome new students from Belarus. The Kalinowski Scholarship Program in Poland has been recently renewed. The negotiations with universities of the Northern countries of the European Union are also underway.

BNTU students and teachers at a solidarity rally. 30 October.
Source: BELSAT 

“We remember the years of 2006 and 2010 when young people of Belarus faced harsh persecution. Many of them went abroad to study and joined our expat community that is doing really a lot to support our compatriots. But anyway these people have never returned to Belarus,” highlighted Stryzhak. “Our main goal is to support people, let them stay, study and work home, not to brain-drain the country. In the 21th century, all possible facilities to study online are fully available, particularly so in the time of Covid-19 when a lot of universities have gone or are going online. So, if there are no direct threats of criminal charges, it makes no sense to go, say, to Vilnius, live in the dorms there, while it is possible to study online from home. That requires, of course, more self-discipline though.” 

The conditions to qualify depend on the university and major candidates for studies pick.

MSLU [Minsk State Linguistic University] students at a solidarity rally on 30 October.
Source: BELSAT

Before getting help, an applicant who turned to the Fund will be thoroughly checked. “We work not only through our own application forms, but via our partners too. Verification is a key in our work, we meticulously check all the evidence that proves an applicant has been fired or expelled for political reasons. Our program is not intended to be used as a tool to emigrate. At the moment, we have 30 applications”, explained the Fund co-founder. 

Andrei Stryzhak pointed out everything is done to help students not feel abandoned. “We totally and unconditionally support every student who takes part in peaceful rallies. So that they know there is a huge community behind them. And how fast Belarus will become a democracy depends on how active we all are.” 

● Since 28 October Belarusian universities have been massively expelling students all across the country. 18 students are known to have been expelled from Belarusian State University of Culture and Art, 20 from Belarusian State Medical University and 9 from Brest State Technical University. Students of Belarus State Technical University, Hrodna State University, Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics are facing expulsions too. 

● But some teachers have been refusing to sign expulsion orders. Maryna Lukashevich, the dean of Computer Systems and Networks Faculty is among them. She submitted her resignation letter. 

Alena Bokhan, the vice-rector for academic affairs of Belarusian State Academy of Arts, also didn’t sign expulsion orders. She said she was against any politically motivated expulsions. 

● When addressing Belarusian students, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya expressed her pride and gratitude saying that all expelled students would be able to continue studying abroad. 

● The Kalinowski Scholarship Program that provides academic assistance to students from Belarus in Poland, and European Humanities University are launching additional scholarships for about 1,000 and 500 Belarusians respectively. Some universities of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia are financially supporting the students from Belarus too.