The biographies of many outstanding people are directly connected with this town. Among them is Saint Euphrosyne of Polotsk, bishops Simeon, Min, Dionysius, writers and philosophers Kliment Smolyatich, Abraham of Smolensk, Frantsysk Skorina, Vasiliy Tyapinsky.
The first national schools opened in Polotsk, Vitebsk, Orsha and Kopys in 1789. The Belarusian first teachers’ institute was inaugurated in 1910. In 1913 there were 1520 primary schools, three gymnasiums, a teachers’ school, a seminary, a cadet corps, agricultural and art schools, a department of the Moscow Institute of Archeology.
The education system of Vitebsk includes 152 educational establishments.
Founded in 1918, the Masherov State University of Vitebsk is the oldest educational establishment of the Republic of Belarus. The university comprises eleven departments.
Vitebsk State Order of Peoples’ Friendship Medical University was founded on 1 November 1934. It has seven departments and a central research laboratory. The university alumni work in 109 countries.
The State Veterinary Academy trains doctors of veterinary medicine and zoo-engineers. An estimated 3,000 students from 12 countries major in the academy every year.
Vitebsk State Technological University consists of seven departments.
Research institutions comprise the Economic Research Institute of the Economy Ministry and the Institute of Applied Acoustics of the National Academy of Sciences.
There are also subsidiaries of the Moscow Institute of Present Knowledge and the International Institute of Labor and Social Relations of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus.
The network of preschool establishments of the town composes of 93 daycares including three child development centers. Preschool establishments offer additional services in teaching English, choreography, fine art on a fee-paying basis. All five-year-old children take preschool training.
Children with special needs attend special educational establishments, special or integrated groups of preschool institutions, special classes of mainstream schools. In order to apply to a special educational establishment, group or class it is necessary to undergo a medical examination and receive a conclusion of the Vitebsk urban center for correctional training and rehabilitation. Children are enrolled to sanatorium preschool institutions or sanatorium groups in accordance with conclusions made by the medical consultation commissions. In particular instances children can be held in preschool establishments 24 hours a day.
There are 36 general education schools and nine gymnasiums in Vitebsk today. The schools have the total enrollment of 31,700 students; the faculty totals 3,750 teachers. There is a wide variety of optional courses in any subject of the general curriculum. Special attention is paid to talented children. The best students of the town’s gymnasiums and schools take an active part in the oblast, national, international Olympiads, scientific conferences, festivals and contests. Computer design makes the basis of educational and out-of-school activities in gymnasia No 4, No 6, and in the Alexander Pushkin gymnasium No 3.
Secondary education is also provided in evening schools or through external courses.
All mainstream schools provide out-of-class activities. There are over 250 gyms, sports grounds and swimming pools in the secondary schools of the town. Students have an opportunity to attend theater societies and studios, choreographic groups, orchestras of national music instruments, puppet shows, arts and crafts groups, and sports sections. Over 15 amateur art groups have received the title of “exemplary”. Belarus National Pioneer Organization and the Belarusian National Union of Youth develop organizational skills and nurture active citizenship in children and young people. Gymnasiums and several schools publish their own newspapers. National museums have been opened in gymnasiums No 5, No 9 and school No 43.
There are four out-of-school centers teaching art, floristics, pottery, weaving, acting, journalism, tourism, sports and many others.
There are several sports schools in Vitebsk. Sports school N8 specialize in swimming, sports school N1 - rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, sports school N2 - acrobatics and trampoline, sports school N4 - volleyball, basketball, handball, sports school N5 - skating, skiing and bicycling, sports school N7 - tennis, chess and draughts, sports school N3 - fencing, shooting, box and wrestling. The Vitebsk-based sports schools and centers provide various paid services (swimming pools, fitness centers, saunas).
For more information about education and protection of children’s rights, please call:
Education department of the Pervomaisky District Administration – 341252, 341073;
Education department of the Oktyabrsky District Administration – 243871, 240987;
Education department of the Zheleznodorozhny District Administration – 366393.