Keeping the traditions, living in the moment, creating the future

№ 2, 2021
Author:

Job title: Rector of the Belarusian National Technical University

THE BELARUSIAN NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY – 100 YEARS OF HIGHER TECHNICAL EDUCATION IN BELARUS

 

The Belarusian National ­Technical University (BNTU), a national brand of higher education in the Republic of Belarus, the main engineering and technical university of the country, celebrated its centenary in 2020. Today BNTU is not just a classical national university of engineering and technology with a 100-year rich history, but also a unique educational, scientific and innovative basis of the national system of higher education.

More than a hundred years ago – in December 1920 – the foundation of the first technical university in the ­Republic was dictated by the urgent need to restore and develop the country's economy and industry. At that time, ­Belarus suffered greatly from revolutions and wars. Its revival required urgent resolution of the advanced engineering personnel training issues. Initially, the Belarusian Polytechnic Institute (BPI) had only five faculties. The first intake at the Institute included 305 students.

Today, more than 30 thousand students study at the University, and the BNTU system includes 16 faculties, nine colleges, a lyceum, a branch in ­Soligorsk, Research Polytechnic Institute, ­Confucius Institute for Science and Technology (the only one in the world), Science and Technology Park "Polytechnic", an experimental plant "Polytechnic", a health center, an advanced scientific library, and many other educational and administrative divisions. Students are trained in 87 specialties of the first stage of education, masters – in 26 specialties, graduate students – in 56 specialties, doctoral students – in 34 specialties. Retraining based on higher education is conducted in 44 specialties. Advanced training is carried out in eight profiles, 22 areas of education. The training of secondary specialized education specialists is carried out at nine branch-colleges in 48 specialties.

At present, when the modern period of social evolution is characterized by the intensive development of the digital economy, the system of engineering personnel training at BNTU is in the stage of qualitative advancing changes within the framework of the "University 3.0" model. This model assumes a rational combination of three main areas: education, fundamental and applied research, innovation and entrepreneurship through the phased introduction of digital technologies into the educational, scientific and business processes of the University.

The justified need for a progressive transition to a new model is caused by the specifics of training highly qualified engineering personnel and market demands, but even in the context of digital transformation, BNTU retains rational conservatism, due to the natural requirements for teaching students basic knowledge in subject areas with the "live" participation of well-known academic teachers in general education, general technical and special disciplines. This approach ensures the integrity of the training system for engineers and a reliable transfer of traditional values and knowledge from generation to generation for over a hundred years.

Over the years, the University has trained more than 220 thousand ­specialists both for the domestic econo­my and for different countries. Due to such parameters as the ­acade­mic authority of the University, reputa­tion among employers, the number of foreign students, foreign teachers and teachers with advanced degrees, participation in the implementation of international projects, the popularity of Internet resources and other, BNTU is included in the world elite of higher technical education, which is confirmed by confident positions in international rating systems.

BNTU is indexed in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rating family. In the regional ranking QS EECA (Emerging Europe & Central Asia), it occupies the 88th position out of 400, and in the QS World University Rankings, it is included in the group #801-1000. The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (WRWU), calculated by the ­Cybermetrics Lab research group, ranks the ­largest number of universities in the world. According to the ­latest data (July, 2020), BNTU ranks 2562 out of 11,999 universities in the world. The rating of research institutions SIR (Scimago Institutions Rankings), published by the Spanish research center SCImago Lab, included 7026 organizations in 2020, of which 3897 are educational institutions, including BNTU, which occupies the 155th position in Eastern Europe, the 648th position in the world, and is ranked 843rd among all educational institutions.

A developed unique infrastructure, continuous work of the University staff to improve educational programs, rebranding and the opening of new topical specialties create a high demand for education at BNTU not only among Belarusians but also among foreign citizens. Today, foreign students come to BNTU from Eastern and Western Europe, East and South Asia, South America, and Africa.

About 3000 foreign citizens from 44 countries (China, the USA, France, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, ­Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, ­Colombia, Vietnam, Nigeria, Congo, Togo, ­Cameroon, and many others) study at the Belarusian National Technical University (including the educational programs of BNTU).

Since 2019, the most demanded and popular among foreign citizens specialties (programs) of the first stage of education (Technology of Mechanical Engineering, Automobile Engi­neering, Industrial and Civil Engineering, Biotechnical Medical Devices and Systems, and Automation of Technological Processes and Production) are delivered in English. Besides, training in English is implemented in all Master degree specialties. Currently, BNTU fulfills more than 180 contracts and agreements with higher education institutions and research institutes from different countries around the world. The uniqueness of some joint international educational programs in the field of engineering, technical and economic training of specialists makes it possible to form a high demand for education at BNTU. For example, ­within the framework of triple Agreements between BNTU, ESIGELEC Higher ­Engineering School (Rouen, France) and AIC Campus (a partner company of BNTU, ­Colombo, Sri Lanka), as well as ­between BNTU, MBS (­Montpellier Business School, France) and AIC Campus, the process of ­training foreign citizens is carried out, which implies staged training in general education, general technical, technical and economic, and special disciplines in English at BNTU (over two years with the study of French up to B2 level) and completion of training at ESIGELEC and MBS.

The Confucius Institute for Science and Technology offers ample opportunities for BNTU students. Over more than six years, it has not only been effectively working in close and efficient interaction with BNTU and North­Eastern University (Shenyang, China), but also contributes to the facilitation of scientific and technical cooperation with China, trains engineering personnel with deep knowledge of technical terminology in Chinese, and provides linguistic support for joint Belarusian-Chinese technical projects and programs, while serving as a cultural and educational platform to make Belarusians familiar with the centuries-old history, rich culture and traditions of China.

In addition to the mentioned above, BNTU also implements no less large and significant educational projects with partners from Tajikistan, ­Uzbekistan and China. For ­example, jointly with the Tashkent State ­Technical ­University named after ­Islam Karimov, a joint Belarusian-Uzbek ­Interdisciplinary Institute of Applied Technical Qualifications was opened in Tashkent in 2019. The project involves training students in technical specialties that are in demand in the republics of Central Asia. Training at the Belarusian-­Uzbek ­Interdisciplinary ­Institute is carried in two stages: the first stage is implemented at the ­Tashkent State Technical ­University named after Islam Karimov, the second – at BNTU, followed by the defense of the diploma project (work) and the attaining of the appropriate qualification.

Today, BNTU is the University with an effective multi-level scientific, technical and innovative system, which ensures the provision of various economy sectors with R&D results. Thanks to this, it makes a significant contribution to the state's innovation policy and the development of the real sector of the economy. The University has a high scientific potential, which is confirmed by the presence of 32 scientific schools under the leadership of outstanding scientists of the Republic of Belarus in the fields of construction, energy, architecture, transport communications, mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, transport, metallurgy, instrument engineering, laser technologies, mining, and others. BNTU has created a unique innovation infrastructure representing a scientific, educational and industrial complex, which includes, among other things, the Republican Innovative Unitary Enterprise "Scientific and Technological Park of BNTU "Polytechnic", a branch of BNTU "Experimental Plant "Polytechnic", 18 joint international scientific and technical centers and laboratories, and other departments. This infrastructure allows the University not only to implement the full cycle of creating innovative scientific and technical products from idea to release and bringing it to the consumer, but also provides effective training of highly qualified specialists and scientific personnel.

To develop entrepreneurial competencies of the most active and ta­lented students, as well as to educate creative youth capable of creating and promoting scientific and technical products, BNTU has created and ope­rates a system for the development of engineering creativity and innovative entrepreneurship of the youth, which includes: 21 student research laboratories, bureaus and centers; production laboratory ­"FABLAB", which provides training in the skills necessary for the development and production of new products, holds master classes and training on working with modern equipment, rapid prototyping, programming, arranges consultations on instrumentation, robotics, digital production, business planning, market analysis, etc.; Start-Up Center "From Idea to Business". The University enables young people, already from their student days, not only to develop creativity and independence in scientific, technical and innovative activities but also to successfully implement their creative and entrepreneurial ideas, up to setting up their own business.

Thus, a balanced set of organizational and managerial decisions and incentive measures aimed at ensuring high-­quality education, enhancing the process of scientific and innovative activities at all its stages, developing innovative youth entrepreneurship, contributes to the increase of the innovative susceptibility of the real sector of the economy, and the educational, scientific and innovative potential of BNTU allows the University to solve the most difficult economic problems. This gives the Belarusian National Technical University the right to be proud of its achievements and face the future with confidence.