«Lifelong Education is not Only Our Right but it should Be Everyone’s Dream»

The adult education center «Barkulab» hosts educational courses for adults with the support of the DVVI in Belarus, as well as with local partners.

The adult education center «Barkulab» has already been operating in Bykhov (Mogilev region) for two years. The center hosts educational courses for adults with the support of the DVVI in Belarus, as well as with local partners.

2020 has become special for «Barkulab», because it became its permanent place - a spacious room in the consumer services center in the very center of the town. Representatives of the DVV International in Belarus came to the welcome day, which was held on September 8 dedicated to the start of a new academic year.

Representatives of local authorities, the organizers and of course guests took part in the warm and sincere opening of the center. Among the guests were the participants of already accomplished courses as well as potential ones. We had a unique opportunity to talk with the final consumers of the courses and find out how much adult education changes the life in the regions and why accomplishment of a course can inspire people with setting up their own business.

Right at the entrance we were warmly greeted by volunteers who decided to join the team of organizers after familiarizing with the work of the center.

Diana, 22, teacher of English at school, attended a course “Makeup Essentials for yourself” in August 2020

"My friend ran this course and invited me to join it as I was always interested in the topic of makeup. There are lots of cosmetics at home, but we don’t always know how to use them correctly. The teacher of the course told us about proper face care, basic preparations before applying makeup. The course was very informative and helpful. At each lesson, we learned a particular type of makeup, and also worked on eyebrow design. I believe that this course was very useful for the participants, and also brought joy to the teacher, as it’s always a pleasure to share your knowledge with others".

By the way, according to surveys conducted among local residents, English language courses are in great demand among the population. This course created on the citizens’ request. Lyudmila Dementy, the administrator of the center, says that when finding a teacher it was essential that they should be local and live in Bykhov. It motivates to learn better.

But not all teachers want to work with adults. Diana actually showed a desire to expand her specialization and, perhaps, in the future will take on several groups for teaching English. This is the first time when a student that comes to “Barkulab” stays with the team further in a different role.

Elena, 41, a teacher of history at the Bykhov gymnasium, was a model in the course “Makeup Essentials for yourself”, and now she actively volunteers at the center:

“I learned about the center from several sources: from my colleague, who works here as an administrator, and I have known the director for a long time. He studied at our gymnasium, then worked there, besides he is very active in life. The center also has its own profile on Instagram, and we track all the information there. My former pupil was a teacher on the makeup course, we are friends with her and communicate well with each other, so she invited me as a model. I didn’t dare to become a participant of the courses, but anyway, in the process of classes I learned a few basic things. Now I would like to improve my knowledge of English and learn to take beautiful photographs and edit them. Live and learn - there is always something to learn about. Such courses create a positive atmosphere and bring people together.”

Also, even before the start of the event, we asked the guests’ opinion about the center, their personal expectations and the real benefits of the courses accomplished:

Olga, 56, head of the employment department, attended a floriculture course in the spring of 2019:

"I learned about the course from an advertisement in the newspaper, however, my friend motivated me to visit the center. In two months we learned a lot of new, interesting information. We have created a joint chat and still been in touch with all the participants. We ask each other for a piece of advice on plant care in the chat. Of course, our society needs such courses. First of all, this is development, both general and on the topics of one’s interest. I also found new friends with the same interests as I’ve got. This year I would like to attend the course “English for Beginners”.

Denis, 34, IT laboratory assistant at the Bykhov gymnasium

"This is my first time at the center “Barkulab”, Roman invited me personally. First of all, educational courses are needed for self-development. If you intend to radically change your life, courses will undoubtedly help you to do this, for example, find a new job. I hope that ideas that the organizers have in their mind will come true. I wish the educational center a lot of participants, interested people, and that the courses bring as much benefit to Bykhov as possible. Further development and success"!

What's new does «Barkulab» offer in 2020?

At the welcome day, Roman Melnikov, the director of the center, presented a new website (link), familiarized with its interface and technical capabilities. The most important feature is that you can sign up for courses online. You can also follow the activities of the center on social networks: instagram, vk, Odnoklassniki.

There are many new educational opportunities for adults this year: 

  • “Business Planning Fundamentals”;
  • “Computer literacy” which will help you to understand the operation of office applications, computer programs such as Internet banking;
  • “English for Beginners” which was created according to the needs of Bykhov residents on the basis of the survey;
  • “Creative Technologies” which will focus on sewing, embroidery, clothes and accessories design;
  • “New Life - New Opportunities” is organized for a completely new target audience - for citizens released from detention centers. On this course, it will be possible to receive legal advice, assistance in employment and household arrangements, as well as to get career counseling. It should be mentioned that this course, as well as courses aimed at maintaining the intellectual and physical condition of the elderly, is free of charge.
  • Besides regular courses, master classes on creating a traditional folk amulet doll, straw weaving, ceramics and weaving are held according to the citizens’ interest.

Each course was presented in detail by coaches and mentors. The teachers of the courses are all residents of Bykhov and Bykhov district, which emphasizes the development of the region and its independence in providing itself with competent staff.

Why is the center called “Barkulab”?

After the presentation of the courses the adult education center “Barkulab” representatives signed partnership agreements with organizations and that was the end of the official part of the event. The teachers of the courses held entertaining activities with the guests. During one of them, Lyudmila, administrator of the center “Barkulab”, told the guests some interesting facts about the name of the center:

“The settlement of Borkolabovo, which is not far from Bykhov, was founded by Barkulab Korsak in the 16th century. A monastery was built here in the 17th century. At that time, monasteries, as you know, were the center of education and culture, because the most literate people were monks. Therefore, drawing an analogy with the fact that the monastery was founded on the territory of Borkolabovo, which became the center of education, we would like our education center carry an educational function for adults in our town in the 21st century. Moreover, we have an art object in the square - an open book of the Barkolabovsky chronicles, which says that the territory of Bykhov has been the center of education. There the unique monument of the word was created. It was dedicated to the word that taught people in ancient times. Therefore, I hope that our guests, our potential participants will also be able to touch this art of words, the art of learning, because lifelong education is not only our right, but it seems to me it should be everyone’s dream. Thank the DVV International Bykhov and Bykhov district residents have the opportunity to receive and exercise this right.”

She attended courses and fulfilled her dream - set up her own business

After the entertainment part of the event, those present could talk with each other and find out interesting details about the center during drinking tea. Here we met Yulia, a mother with many children from Bykhov, who thank the adult education center “Barkulab”, gained the knowledge and self-confidence to fulfill her dream - setting up her own business:

“After school, I wanted to be a cosmetologist and enter the Arkhangelsk State Medical Academy, but at that time I lack only one point to enter it, so in order not to lose a year, I entered a medical college in St. Petersburg. After graduation, I gave birth to my first child. I did not work on my specialty: there was nobody to leave the baby with. Later due to circumstances I had to return to my homeland in Bykhov.
Here I soon got married, gave birth to my second son, and was again on maternity leave. My husband told me that I work as a mom. Then we wanted to give birth to a girl. And now, the children have already grown up, the eldest son is already a second-year student at BSUT, the middle one is in the 8th grade, and the girl will go to school next year. Now I understand that I’m free and I can exercise self-education and think over a direction to move further.

My future occupation was mainly determined by the education center “Barkulab”. I saw advertisements on the Internet and in a newspaper and thought that I was done with hesitation and it was high time to act. I decided to sign up for a course “Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship” . During that course, I have already decided on my future occupation - an entrepreneur. In general, thoughts about setting up my own business have visited me before, as my husband is an entrepreneur. Moreover, I helped him a lot with the documentation and contracts signing, so I wanted to do something that would be in demand and useful to the residents of the town.

Later I graduated from the course “Fundamentals of Business Planning”, registered with the employment service as unemployed, received all the necessary information and began to study in Mogilev to be a cosmetician-esthetician. Thus I connected my medical education with business. What is more, beauty and self-care is a very popular topic at the moment. Of course, there are professionals of the same specialization in our town, nevertheless, the majority of Bykhov residents go to Mogilev to get the services of cosmeticians and estheticians.

The course took place at a very difficult time of the pandemic, there were long pauses between classes, but still I graduated from it. Today, I continue to take training courses on different techniques, for example, facial massage, and attend various courses from cosmetology companies. Unfortunately, at the moment it is difficult to open your own parlor due to the unfavorable epidemiological situation in the country, but I won’t abandon my initiative. I strictly follow my business plan, which I have drew up thank courses at “Barkulab”, and now I’m in search of a room.

I really like to attend “Barkulab”, to develop myself and at the same time take a rest from everyday routine. Thus, I attended the courses “Basics of ceramics” and “Makeup Essentials for yourself”. This year I’m going to sign up for courses on the English language and computer literacy, because I don’t consider myself to be an advanced user. Moreover, these skills will greatly help in promoting my business. I’m very grateful to the organizers of all the courses, and I wish the center “Barkulab” moving forward, development and all the best! I’m very glad that we have such an educational center in our town”.

Text created by Elina Kul, fifth-year student at the Faculty of Intercultural Communication at MSLU, intern at DVVI in Belarus