Obligatory assignment contradicts Constitution
In Belarus, 65 civil suits have been launched against the students who did not take the employment they had been assigned to within the policy of obligatory assignment of college and university students. Well-known human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich believes that the assignment policy is a soviet atavism of forcing to work at a specific place. The human rights activist cites the Belarusian Constitution that proclaims the work a right - not a duty - of a citizen.
Valiantsin Stefanovich told RFE/RL in an interview,“the Constitution implies free education financed by the state budget which is being compiled of citizens’ taxes. This means that the citizens pay for education with their taxes all their lives. That makes that compensation for the spent money of the state and practice of obligatory assignment completely illegal.”
However, at present graduate students cannot use their right to work where they want, the human rights activist is convinced.
“Earlier people used to work illegally for 2 years, or not to work for two years at all, and then after the assignment term was over they could get an official employment. The recent changes in the legislation force graduate students to pay back the money the state spent on them,” Stefanovich says and advises those who don’t want to work despite their will, in the middle of nowhere to “get the second higher education, become a master or PhD student or to pay for final years, because in the result it will prove cheaper than to pay back the cost of the “free” education.”