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16 December 2015

European tests for Belarusian school students of German language

A declaration of intent was signed by the Belarusian Education Ministry and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Minsk on 15 December, BelTA has learned. In line with the declaration the sides intend to expand the pilot project that will allow school students in Vitebsk Oblast, Gomel Oblast, and Mogilev Oblast to take DSD-1 exams. It is the kind of exams that school students outside Germany take for the sake of confirming their mastery of German.

The project began in 2008 as an experiment. The project initially covered Brest Oblast, Grodno Oblast, and the city of Minsk. Now it will be expanded onto Vitebsk Oblast, Gomel Oblast, and Mogilev Oblast. The relevant general secondary education institutions will train students in a way to prepare them for taking these exams. Those, who pass, will receive DSD-1 and DSD-2 certificates, which are part of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The German language mastery certificate is issued after the student has sat the exam based tasks, which are unified for all countries. Certificate holders are free to apply for admission to German universities and take part in international scholarship programs on preferential terms.

The Belarusian Education Ministry will recommend certification of the general secondary education institutions where the German language is taught. The students will be able to opt for the exams.

Ambassador of Germany to Belarus Peter Dettmar said: "This project has received considerable dynamics. I am very glad that your country pays much attention to German language studies. Language is a means to understanding between partners. It needs practical uses."

Signing the document, Belarusian Deputy Education Minister Raisa Sidorenko underlined: "Young people are our future. Language mastery is a bridge in communication. We have to understand that it is truly difficult to compete with the English language but young people should have a choice what language they should study. We are also interested in Belarusian language studies in your country."

Another important document was also signed. The Minsk State Linguistic University (MSLU) and the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad (ZfA) signed the final protocol as part of the event.

Due to the higher number of general secondary education institutions where the German language proficiency certification project will be implemented the Belarusian side intends to train MSLU teachers, who will be entrusted with organizing the certification process and evaluating the students. The German side will take part in the education process and will help improve the qualifications of these teachers.