Lithuanian language teaching in Polish schools, the need to pay more attention to the level of Polish speaking, financing schools and some other topics were discussed during the meeting organised by Jarosław Narkiewicz, the Vice President of Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) and a member of Education, Culture and Science Committee. The representatives of local governments in Vilnius Region, Šalčininkai District Municipality, Trakai District Municipality, Vilnius city and the Forum of Parents of Polish Schools in Lithuania talked about what should be done at different levels: school, local government and state in order to solve the problems of Polish education in Lithuania.
One of the topics in the discussion was the use of financial sources from „the student’s basket”. This year, fewer students came to schools than it had been expected (not only to Polish schools but to all schools in Lithuania) so the money from the students’ basket were not spent. Unspent money has to go back to the state budget, whereas local governments want to keep this money at their disposal. The representatives of local governments present at the meeting organised by Jarosław Narkiewicz said that it could be used for the needs of schools.
Another topic in the discussion was the standarisation of the curriculum of Lithuanian language teaching in Lithuanian schools and minority schools. The curriculums were standardised several years ago but the textbooks for non-Lithuanian schools have been not published so far. „For five years, it has been talked about that the teachers of early child education still have the same problem of the lack of textbooks and teaching aids. Some use the textbooks for Lithuanian schools, some use old textbooks and some other prepare material for lessons on their own, copy it and distribute to students. It is not a good solution as the curriculums in early children education in Lituanian and non-Lithuanian schools differ in terms of the number of hours. In Lithuanian schools, there is a higher number of hours of Lithuanian teaching than in non-Lithuanian schools. In Lithuanian schools, there are more hours of Lithuanian teaching than in Polish schools,” said Józef Kwiatkowski, a member of Parliament, the chairman the Association of Polish Teachers in Lithuania „Macierz Szkolna” that participated in the discussion organised by Jarosław Narkiewicz.
The representatives of local governments also complained about the lack of teaching aids for Lithuanian language lessons. They talked about the need to give some credit to people from non-Lithuanian schools taking matura exam in the interim period at the Lithuanian language exam. As we know in 2003, there was some credit but it was liquidated when Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania said that they are against Lithuanian Constitution. This year, Matura was taken by all students in Lithuania according to the same rules and the results in minority schools were worse than in last years. The representatives of local governments of Vilnius Region and parents from the Forum of Parents of Polish Schools appealed to the members of Parliament of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania for discussing this topic with the authorities of the country.
The level of mother tongue speaking is as important for Polish schools in Lithuania as high level of national language teaching. Unfortunately, the level of Polish of the majority of Polish youth in Lithuania is getting worse. Among peers, during classes in music, art and sport schools, students speak Lithuanian. Not many of them learn correct Polish at home. In this case, the only place where they can learn mother tongue is school. “It is impossible to force students to learn the mother tongue. That is why during the meeting in Seimas, we said that different competitions and events are needed to encourage students to correct mother tongue speaking and show them its attractiveness,” reports Józef Kwiatkowski.
Tłumaczenie by Marta Wojtowicz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Marta Wojtowicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.