Strikes aren’t the answer to the actions of the authorities considering Szymon Konarski middle school in Vilnius –as graduates of the institution claim.
On the day before the beginning of the school year, local authorities of Vilnius informed the Szymon Konarski middle school about the fact that the 11th grades won’t be created and the students are obliged to change the educational institution. The information was shocking to students and their parents but also to graduates of the school.
“For me as the former pupil of the Szymon Konarski middle school the situation looks almost ridiculous. It’s insulting that the local government of Vilnius used the opportunity of appealing to the decision of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court in the last days of August, just before the 1st of September and the higher Court made the decision in such a short term, in a haste. As a lawyer I reckon that the regulations provide for terms and procedures that the local government simply benefited from the existing possibilities of law and made no misdemeanor but there is also another side – decency, empathy for the schools’ students, favour for people’ – Irena Kalitkiewicz regrets.
Waldemar Szejbak, whose opinion is that the government’s decision is the misunderstanding of the highest level, accompanies her. ‘It is not only about whether or not to complete the 11th and 12th grades. It’s rather the case of amateur decision-making and problem-solving ’ – says the graduate of Konarski school.
This is our school
Ewa Kratkowska, who knows the entire situation form the inside as her mother is the vice-headmistress of the school, feels a huge regret. ‘Even when we moved to another part of Vilnius, there was no talk about changing the school. The school was and is mine and ours. I and my sister graduated from it, mom worked many years in the institution. Now, it is not well. Konarski’s school was never a big school but that does not mean that it can be treated that way – said Ewa.
On the other hand, Ryszard Rotkiewicz adds that this sort of decisions are somewhat bullying the students. It is also a huge stress for the parents and the school’s authorities. Konarski’s school is a generation school for a long time. Beata Bużyńska, whose son went to the first grade, and her mother taught Polish in the school for 44 years, is the last example’- journalist of the pl.delfi.lt. explains. Bużyńska herself admits that the Szymon Konarski’s middle school is a perfect place to gain knowledge, where wonderful teachers work and multilingualism is the advantage of Polish schools.
‘When you’re born in a multilingual environment, you have a perfect start from the beginning. Next, it is only the issue of verifying the information, how one will benefit from it’ – a graduate of the institution says.
Where the AWPL was?
The graduates are insulted by the strikes, in which students participate, not less than by the actions of the government. ‘While speaking of the situation, it’s important to mention that the decision of not completing 11th and 12th grades in the Szymon Konarski middle school has been made in April 2015 by the former local government’s council, whose coalition was established by the AWPL and, unfortunately, the entire fraction supported it. Now, the same party agitates parents and schools to organize protests and strikes. This is nonsense and dishonesty towards voters’ – Irena is frustrated; whereas Waldemar adds that children shall learn, not demonstrate. ‘Let the school’s administration protest, let parents protest but children – in my humble opinion – have to stay in school as shall the teachers’ – the graduate enumerates.
Ewa, on the other hand, who does not approve of strikes, sees another way which shall lead to the understanding. ‘I see it differently; this shall be done on the way of law, the long way, but step by step and win after win – we shall manage, as the truth and common sense are with us’- the graduate hopes. Ryszard, who is the editor, is of the same opinion: ‘I am opposed to using children in a fight for anything. There’re more civilized ways of fighting: negotiations, courts. I believe, we shouldn’t lower to the level of some “unfavourable” councilors. A Pole always had honor and we always won that way. We’ll win this time as well.
Konarski’s school, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is renowned not only of the band ‘Świtezianka’, theatre classes but also of the family traditions. ‘I attended the school as did my father, my brothers and sisters, all family. I remember as I took part in the ceremony of naming the former 29th High School the Szymon Konarski middle school and showing the tablet. I was wearing a folk dress and held the white cloth; I felt awarded that I was chosen to assist. Many warm recollections remained from the school years. I understand that the reforms of schools and education are unavoidable, which shall take place sooner or later, but the situation of the 11th and 12th grades’ students is not to be envied’ – Irena shared her recollections.
‘I am deeply grateful to the teachers of the school for their work. I graduated the school; my son graduated it last school year. I have two daughters who will go to the school the next year’ –also said Witold Rudzianiec, the graduate of Konarski.
Tłumaczenie by Agnieszka Galek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agnieszka Galek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.