The role of the service sector has recently been increasing in the structure of the economy of Belarus. Employment in it is growing at a fairly high rate and today accounts for more than 1/3 of the total number of employees.
The service sector has a strong influence on the location of industry. Cities and urban-type settlements that are better provided with services “attract” industrial construction more: new enterprises do not need to spend money on creating social infrastructure for their employees or these costs are small. In factories and plants in such settlements , as a rule, there is a slight turnover of labor.
In Belarus, services are provided free of charge, on preferential terms or in a paid form. At the previous stages of the socio-economic development of the republic, public consumption funds grew and free services expanded accordingly. The principle of free and preferential treatment was applied to services that were most socially significant for all members of society. The development of market relations has led to the expansion of paid services in the system of education, health care, culture, etc., Table. 8.15.
The leading place in the intangible sphere belongs to the branches of socio-cultural services (education, health protection, culture, etc.). They account for more than half of the total volume of services.
Table 8.15 Resource requirements
Structure of paid services of Belarus as of 1.01.2001, in %,
housing and communal services
on the maintenance of children in pre-school institutions
tourist and excursion
Physical Culture and Sports
of the legal nature and institutions of the bank
Republic of Belarus
Belarus, as a sovereign state, has its own education system, which consists of pre-school education, general secondary education, out-of-school education and upbringing. Even before 1991, a wide network of public preschool education and training facilities was created – kindergartens, family and boarding schools. It was constantly expanding, but the coverage of children with preschool institutions did not exceed 70-75% of the normative. The formation of market relations, the decline in production in the 90s. led to a significant reduction in departmental preschool institutions, which accounted for about 4/5 of their total number. In 2000, in comparison with 1990, the number of pre-school institutions decreased by about 1000 units, and the contingent of pupils decreased by 64%. Today, in order to preserve, and if necessary, expand, the network of preschool institutions, to make it accessible to all segments of the population, state assistance is required, first of all. At the same time, it is possible to transfer individual preschool institutions to the state budget. In 2001, public spending on education amounted to 6.2% of GDP.
The development of general secondary education in Belarus is ensured by general education schools. In recent years, significant changes have been taking place in them: the ratios between the stages of education (primary, basic, secondary) are changing, new types of educational institutions (gymnasiums, colleges, lyceums) are being created. As of the beginning of the 2000/2001 academic year, there were 4757 secondary schools in the republic, including primary schools – 13.8%, basic – 23.2%, secondary – 58.6% (Table 8.16), gymnasiums – 86, lyceums – 25, colleges – 6.
Table 8.16 Resource requirements
Secondary schools of Belarus, [2, p.259]
Republic of Belarus
* Numerator – data for the 1990/1991 school year, denominator – data for the 2000/2001 school year.
Almost all secondary schools in the republic are characterized by a weak material and technical base. 27.3% of schools require major repairs, are in disrepair and are recognized as unsuitable for operation 53 schools. The slow pace of construction of new schools increases the shift of classes. Over the past decade, the proportion of pupils engaged in the second and third shifts has increased by almost 20%.
The crisis situation in the economy of the 90s led to a weakening of state support for higher education, a decrease in the prestige of a diploma of higher education, the lack of social guarantees of employment after graduation from higher educational institutions and, in general, to the loss of the intellectual potential of the state. Since 1995, the network of non-state higher education institutions has begun to expand rapidly. Immediately there were 20 of them, but today only 14 are working.
At the beginning of the 2000/2001 academic year, about 40,000 students were engaged in non-state universities. This represents 15% of the total number of students in public institutions. In the United States, for example, 23% of the total number of students studied in private universities, and Japanese private universities of university status provided training for 3/4 of the total number of students. Of all the enrolled students of non-state universities at the beginning of the 2000/2001 academic year, 53.0% were admitted to economic specialties, and 38.7% to legal ones. Such an approach is not fully consistent with state policy, which has already led to an excess of personnel in the relevant specialties and an increase in the number of unemployed among this category of specialists.
Raising the level of education is economically beneficial, as it ultimately contributes to the growth of labor productivity. According to some estimates, an increase in the duration of training of the employed by one year leads to an increase in GDP by 9%. In the Republic of Belarus as a whole, there is a progressive shift: a decrease in the proportion of persons with secondary general and incomplete secondary education in the number of employees and an increase in the share of workers with higher and secondary specialized education.
However, the effect of increasing the level of education cannot be considered adequately high. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. We can talk about a serious decline in the quality of post-secondary education due to the commercialization of secondary specialized and higher education. In the total number of students, the number of students in economic and legal specialties is exaggerated. The number of students in the republic per 10,000 people. population has come close to the level of the world leader in this field – the United States (Table 8.17). But the United States trains specialists for the whole world, and higher education in the Republic of Belarus, it must be admitted, has become unattractive for foreign students, and all graduates of universities and secondary specialized educational institutions cannot find application in their specialty.
Table 8.17 Resource requirements
Dynamics of the number of students in the Republic of Belarus in comparison with other countries
(people per 10,000 population)
Republic of Belarus
323 (including 138 in absentia)
The growth in the number of students in the Republic of Belarus is a consequence of the commercialization of higher and secondary specialized education. Many young people who are not able to absorb higher education get into educational institutions. But this does not prevent them from receiving diplomas of the “state sample”. The increase in the number of students smoothes out the acuteness of the problem of youth unemployment. The low level of training of students is also explained by the low level of equipment of educational institutions and the lack of good teachers.
To overcome the crisis in education, the State Program for the Development of Education and Upbringing in Belarus for the Period up to 2010 has been developed and is being implemented, which provides for a set of measures aimed at developing a nationally and regionally oriented education that contributes to the growth of the intellectual potential of the population; creation of a rational network of educational institutions that meet the needs of the national economy and residents of the republic in educational services; equipping educational institutions with the necessary nomenclature of pedagogical personnel, creating optimal conditions for their work and life; achievement of a scientifically based level of material base; development of legal support for the activities of the education system; and the establishment of a governance mechanism appropriate to socio-economic conditions.
The successful implementation of the program will contribute to the gradual exit of the education system from the crisis and increase the role of education in the socio-economic and national-cultural development of Belarus at the present stage.
As part of the service sector, a large role belongs to the state system of health care institutions. It has a hierarchical organizational structure. The republican level is characterized by several research institutes, a university, three medical institutes and clinics on their basis. They provide high-tech types of medical services and are concentrated in Minsk and its suburbs, Vitebsk, Grodno, Gomel.
The regional and inter-district levels of health care have a set of medical institutions that provide specialized types of services (dispensaries, hospitals, diagnostic centers, etc.). The district level is represented by a system of institutions (hospitals, dispensaries, rural outpatient clinics, ambulance stations, preventive and diagnostic centers for socially significant diseases) of primary and emergency care.
The provision of health services in Belarus is higher than in some developed countries. It varies considerably by region (Table 8.18). This predetermines measures to improve the territorial organization of medical institutions on the basis of a more complete consideration of the features of the development and location of sectors of the national economy, the demographic situation and the environmental situation in specific regions and settlement centers.
Table 8.18 Resource requirements
Provision of services to the population of Belarus
health care (per 10000 population)*
Number of doctors of all specialties
Number of nurses
Number of hospital beds
* Filed see [1, p.85].
Institutions of sanatorium-resort profile, physical education and sports, recreation are especially important in the prevention of diseases. Today in Belarus there are 318 sanatoriums and recreation facilities with a total capacity of about 47 thousand beds and 524.5 thousand people of service personnel. Given the consequences of the Chernobyl accident and the overall environmental situation in Belarus, this is certainly not enough to meet the needs of the population in health improvement.
Among the most successfully reformed sectors is housing and communal services. Despite the difficulties of the current transition period, the average housing provision of the population increased from 17.9 m2 of total area per inhabitant in 1990 to 21.2 m2 in 2000. The highest level of housing provision is in the Mogilev region, the lowest is in Minsk. For comparison, it should be noted that the average provision of housing in Russia is 18.5 m2, in Latvia – 20.9, in the Czech Republic – 25.5 m2 of housing per person. At the same time, the problem of housing in Belarus remains very acute: 40 per cent of the housing stock is worn out; in the village, 66% of the total public housing stock is equipped with water supply, 32% with hot water supply, 49% with central heating, and 60% with sewerage. Moreover, in the republic, more than 500 thousand families are officially in the queue for improving housing conditions.
A progressive industry in Belarus is public communication. The number of home phones per 100 families increased by 2 times (in 1990 – 37 pieces, in 2000 – 75 pieces), which is the highest figure among the CIS countries. This is facilitated by the introduction of such progressive types of communication as telefaxes, mobile radio communications.
The system of consumer services, which by the beginning of the 90s had a well-developed network of institutions (more than 30 types of services were provided in any point of Belarus), by 2000 reduced the volume of services provided by 70%. At the same time, the structure of the services provided has also changed significantly. In the system of consumer services in modern conditions, entrepreneurship has received intensive development (in 2000, the share of the private sector in this industry was about 70%).
The transition to market relations, the development of various forms of ownership has led to a change in the principles of organization and financing of the health services sector. In particular, the principle of insurance medicine is introduced into practice, the peculiarity of which is a rational combination of state and local financing (contributions from the state budget, enterprises and employees). At the same time, the state assumes the responsibility to provide the bulk of medical services for free, and the person himself pays for some part. The population’s need for paid medical care is provided by both specialized economic and settlement organizations and budgetary institutions.
Today, the principle of payment is introduced to solve the housing problem. Gradually, a transition is being made from the principle of free distribution of housing to the principle of its redemption. In this regard, in both urban and rural areas, it is advisable to increase the share of cooperative and individual housing construction.
The transition to market relations orients the development of all branches of education to create a system of continuous training. There is a decentralization and democratization of the management of the education system, there are educational institutions of a commercial type, as well as an integrated one – “school – university”, “vocational school – technical school”, “college – university”, etc. Specific structural changes are being made in the training of specialists taking into account the demand in the labor market, the production and commercial activities of educational institutions are being widely developed.
Thus, the share of services in the social complex of Belarus in recent years has tended to develop and expand the range, in turn, the population’s requirements for the range and quality of services are also growing.