Valentin Baiko, Member of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, one of the founders of the Conte Spa JLLC spoke about humane pedagogy, ecological farming, the first reception of citizens

Valentin Baiko, Member of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, one of the founders of the Conte Spa JLLC spoke about humane pedagogy, ecological farming, the first reception of citizens

Valentin Baiko, one of the founders of the Conte Spa joint limited liability company, began to promote the brand now known far beyond the borders of the country back in the 90s of the last century, when an independent Belarusian market was just emerging. Then it was a bold decision that fully paid off. Today, Conte Spa JLLC is not only a successful, but also a socially responsible enterprise, on the account of which there are many significant charity projects. Last year Valentin Baiko was elected as a member of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly. He is sure that the experience and determination accumulated in business will help in senatorial activity. In an interview with Grodzenskaya Pravda, Valentin Baiko spoke about the promotion of humane pedagogy in Belarusian schools, the prospects for ecological farming, the first reception of citizens and the first fulfilled election promise.

-The Presidiums of the Volkovysk, Mostovsky and Schuchinsky District Councils of Deputies nominated you to the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus. What tasks do you set for yourself in a new role, and which of them may have already been completed?

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- Recently, I held my first personal reception of citizens and a direct telephone line as a member of the Council of the Republic in Schuchin. This helped to more specifically understand what excites my constituents. Most of the issues in the housing and communal services sector are what a person faces daily, ordinary everyday situations. There were questions about employment. Appeals of citizens orient us to specific cases. Such an experience was the first in my life and, of course, I sincerely wanted to help everyone. Answers to some questions were immediately available. Heads of departments and services of the district executive committee on duty on site helped. Discussions arose on some issues; I had to look for solutions collegially. Now the focus is on possible changes to the Law on Business Associations. I am one of the speakers in the working group on this issue. It is important to foresee where the innovations will lead. They must lead to increased business activity, increased well-being of people. It is too early to talk about specific results of work in the Council of the Republic. But I can safely say that one of my first promises, which were given even during the nomination of candidates, was fulfilled.

- Are you talking about master classes by Academician Shalva Amonashvili in Schuchin and Volkovysk? For children, parents and teachers, this was a long-awaited meeting.

- By education, I am also a teacher - a primary school teacher and music, therefore, communicating with the local deputies of my district, I could not help addressing the issues of teaching and raising children. Having met reciprocity, he promised that as a senator I would do my best to organize this meeting in my district. Shalva Alexandrovich responded to the invitation, came to us, held open lessons and seminars for teachers in Schuchin and Volkovysk. Full house, people in the hall cried, so simply and movingly he talked with children. Shalva Alexandrovich literally plays on the thinnest strings of baby souls. For every child he finds words of praise, noting the best in him. The seminar of Shalva Amonashvili and his son Paata touched on many aspects of modern pedagogy. There were a lot of questions to the guest, because he is a great authority. Many studied on his books.

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- It is interesting to know how you met the legendary academician?

- That was in 2016. By chance I came across an article on the Internet that he organizes a summer children's camp and at the same time gives lessons to parents. So instead of a regular vacation, my wife and I decided to go to Georgia to learn from the gurus of pedagogy. We remained impressed. Shalva Amonashvili is one of the brightest stars to meet with, a magical man. My wife and I listened to every word. They were afraid to step back even for a minute, so as not to miss something important. I wanted to share the knowledge and emotions I got at home. In 2017, they decided to invite an academician in Grodno. 650 people attended his two-day seminar, which took place in the regional drama theater.

- Why, in your opinion, is it important to implement Shalva Amonashvili’s methods in our schools?

- Shalva Alexandrovich speaks a very understandable and kind language, preaching, first of all, love for children in the educational system. He is a believer and often repeats that the child is a part of the Lord on earth. If so, will you scream at your children, will you force them to do something? Or will you be friends with them, try to interest them, so that they themselves want to ?! There was a case in Georgia. Our youngest son did not want to go to the mountains. At such moments, parents usually say: "You are a man, a defender, do not be afraid, it is a shame to be afraid." We approached Paate, the son of Shalva Alexandrovich, for advice. And, to our surprise, he said: “If you don’t want, don’t! But in the evening we will make a fire, they will play the saxophone and guitar, let's see if we don’t like it, we’ll return.” And the son agreed! So simple. After the trip, I apologized to my children for what was wrong. Relations have become much warmer and more trusting. Therefore, I really want the schools of Belarus to have many followers of humane pedagogy. Now the district stages of the national contest “Teacher of the Year” are taking place. Their winners and prize-winners from the Volkovysk and Schuchin districts - three teachers from each - will have the opportunity to take advanced training courses at the Amonashvili higher school.

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- You lead a huge team. Are these techniques applicable to management?

- To some extent, yes. There is an expression: "To learn how to make ships, you need to love the sea." The team becomes strong when everyone works to achieve a common goal, relate with heart to what they are doing. I am sure that every person initially wants to study well and work. Further, it all depends on what environment he enters, who becomes authority for him. Everyone has a positive side. The task of the leader to see them and reveal, "finish" the personality, as the legendary academician expresses. If a person gets to such a leader, we can assume he was lucky.

- It is known that you are an active supporter of ecology. Speaking at the All-Belarusian National Assembly, you expressed an opinion on the importance and timeliness of stimulating the production of organic products. You have a farm that specializes in organic farming. It is clear that we are talking primarily about healthy nutrition and the health of the nation. But if you look at the issue from the point of view of the economy, how profitable is this niche and does it have a real future?

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- The scope of our farm is small - 300 hectares. From a business point of view, it is difficult to talk about such areas. In this direction, we are rather experimenting, learning, looking for approaches. The main emphasis is on berries, we are trying to grow grain - buckwheat, rye,peas. Recently launched a line of natural herbal tea. We partially distribute the products to our own employees, and partially send them to the shelves of large hypermarkets. While it is not for sale as well as we would like. But for me it’s obvious that the future lies with organic farming. A striking example is Ukraine. Five years ago there were only two "organic" farms, now there are about three dozen with an area of ten, eight, five thousand hectares, and this is already a serious industrial scale.

Young people today are different. The younger generation from all sides shouts to us: let's sort the garbage, let's play sports, adhere to a healthy diet. The most difficult thing in business is to change the consciousness of society. But it is changing and will change. People begin to seriously think about how to preserve their own health and the health of their children and grandchildren. It supports the state, such a culture of consumption is formed by the media.

- A lot in this regard, you see, also depends on the price - organically pure products are more expensive ...

- So far there is a difference in price, but this is only for now. When such products become mass-consumed, their cost will decrease. Again, let me give you an example of Ukraine - over the years, organic farmers begin to get the same crop from their land without the use of chemistry that they could get using fertilizers. I saw their success. It just needs other technologies, different approaches. And the results will be.

- Today in the country one more trend is developing at the state level - the transition to environmentally friendly packaging. What do you think about this?

- Remember the last forum in Davos. What was the topic up there? Ecology! The big problem today is the use of plastic. We have chosen the gradual path to change our habits. In Indonesia, for example, last year the use of plastic in the food industry was simply banned overnight. Yes, from an economic point of view, we can say that glass, for example, is more expensive. But this is the health of everyone and us.

- Successful experience in business can somehow help in senatorial activity?

- The president once said: start solving all issues “from the ground.” A large stratum of problems really consists of many small flaws. Senators should use every opportunity to be useful to society and the country, starting with finance, ending with personal horizons, business contacts. I have a certain life experience, including entrepreneurial and, I hope, it will be useful in the field of adoption of certain legislative decisions.

Of course, it is important for me how these or those changes will affect the level of business activity, because there is a direct relationship between the capabilities of business, production and the state economy, and the level of people's well-being.

As for charitable activities, the company has long been providing assistance in resolving social issues, supporting sports and education. And it does not depend on the senatorial chair. There are and always have been many sponsor initiatives behind ConteSpa, but I would not want to “PR” them. My children live in this country, and I am ready to do everything possible for its prosperity. This is the main thing.