At the request of the Polish Ministry of Education, a meeting between the Deputy Ministers of Education for Poland and Lithuania, Deputy Ministers Ewa Dudek and Genoveita Krasauskienė respectively, has taken place. Both sides commented differently on the meeting.
„We are concerned about the situation of Poles in Lithuania. The changes applied to the Lithuanian education system in 2011 have hindered the chances of graduates of Polish schools in Lithuania to study at Lithuania’s public universities” – said Ewa Dudek after the meeting.
The Lithuanian side proclaimed that their arguments were not accepted. „While discussing the standardized Lithuanian language test, there were some accusations that the test might be too difficult for the students from schools of national minorities. However, we presented an analysis of the results of students from both national minorities and Lithuanian schools which put an end to the concerns. There was not a single proposal to change anything” – explained Deputy Minister of Education Genoveita Krasauskienė to BNS.
During the meeting, the situation of Władysław Syrokomla and Joachim Lelewel Schools was debated, with the issue of the accreditation of these schools taking longer than expected being discussed. The Ministry of Education stated that Deputy Minister Krasauskienė and the Ministry is preparing a response to that issue and this will be presented to the schools soon. „I hope that the decision will be favourable to the schools” – said Deputy Minister Dudek. She proposed resuming the work of a group consisting of representatives of national minorities which was created by the Ministry of Education and Science in 2011. The task of the group was to keep track of the situation of the schools of national minorities.
The Lithuanian Deputy Minister stressed that during the meeting the topic of protests against the reorganization of schools was not addressed. However, the reorganization itself was discussed. „We expressed support for keeping the schools if they meet certain demands. We said that an artificial reorganization of schools is senseless. However, we emphasized that this is a concern primarily for the local governments. They need to make an adequate decision” – explained Krasauskienė.
During the meeting, the Lithuanian Deputy Minister explained about the problems of Lithuanian schools in Poland. ‘Financing and course-books are amongst the biggest issues” – said the Deputy Minister. Both parties agreed that the work of a team of education experts specialising in the issues of national minorities should be resumed. The Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Lithuania declared that both teams will resume their activity this year.
Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, the Minister of National Education, has defended the Polish schools in Lithuania from the beginning. On Wednesday (2nd September) she issued a letter to Audrone Pitreniene, the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania, asking for renewed consideration for the suggestions of parents of students from Polish schools in Lithuania.
The leader of the Ministry of National Education shares the anxiety of parents in connection with the situation of their children and the systematically worsening situation of Polish schools in Lithuania and addressed parents in a letter. – Polish students in Lithuania are entitled to use all the rights granted to national minorities of the European Union – she wrote on Thursday (3rd September).
Tłumaczenie by Katarzyna Kosińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Katarzyna Kosińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.