Accreditation of Polish schools in Lithuania, including the Władysław Syrokomla School and Joachim Lelewel School, was the subject of the meeting that took place on Tuesday at the Ministry of Education and Science.
Among those who attended the meeting with Minister of Education and Science Audronė Pitrėnienė were: Deputy Chairman of the Seimas Jarosław Narkiewicz, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Deputy Mayor Valdas Benkuskas, Deputy Mayor of the Vilnius region Jan Gabriel Mincewicz, and Deputy Mayor of the Trakai region Maria Pucz.
Pitrėnienė: The ball is in the court of the local government
“I assess the meeting positively. In my opinion, the Vilnius region has found the best solutions. A compromise has been reached in regard to all the schools. Accreditation is to begin in schools located in Valčiūnai [a school with Russian as the language of instruction; editorial note] and Zujūnai, while the school in Medininkai is to become a subsidiary of the “gimnazjum” in Rukainiai. As for the Trakai region [the School in Paluknys; editorial note], we’ve also found a solution – two schools are going to function under one roof,” the minister said after the meeting when interviewed by zw.lt.
Pitrėnienė added that there should be no problems in Vilnius as well, but, according to her, the ball was in the court of the local government. “When it comes to Vilnius, we’re ready to grant the accreditation to the Władysław Syrokomla School. The Vilnius authorities must take appropriate decisions. We’ve been assured that at the beginning of June we’ll receive a request for accreditation. The Joachim Lelewel School, in turn, has to obtain permission from the Council to be able to function as a gimnazjum with special focus on particular subjects,” explained the head of the Ministry of Education.
Narkiewicz: Local government is playing for time
Deputy Chairman of the Seimas Jarosław Narkiewicz was less optimistic after the meeting than the minister. “I hold a different opinion. We’ve organised such meetings not for the first time. Their aim is to find solutions and accredit this small number of schools that haven’t been accredited,” Narkiewicz stated in the interview.
According to the deputy chairman of the Seimas, problems with accreditation can be divided into two groups. The first includes schools in the Trakai and Vilnius regions, and the second – those located in Vilnius. “When the region authorities hold the same view as school communities, the ministry agrees to meet the request. At least it says so. But words must be supported with acts, so we’ll see… […] There’s a problem when the local government has a different view than the communities. I speak mostly of the Vilnius City. In such cases the ministry prevaricates. It manipulates its previous resolutions in its own way, wants to shift the responsibility for the issue onto the local government, which has a negative attitude towards school communities,” stressed the politician.
Narkiewicz is convinced that the Lelewel and Syrokomla Schools must be accredited immediately. According to the politician, the Vilnius authorities are “playing for time.” “The local government claims the Lelewel School will be accredited when it is relocated to the Wiwulski School building. And what if rooms in the new school do not meet accreditation requirements?” noticed the deputy chairman of the Seimas. In his view, the current local government coalition should focus more on seeking other rooms for the overcrowded Lithuanian school, which is to be given the Lelewel School building. The politician believes it was good of the Seimas that it extended the school reorganisation period to 2017.
“However, nobody can ensure that the municipality will go through all the formalities within this time,” Narkiewicz pointed out.
Šimašius: Strange way of conducting the meeting
Remigijus Šimašius did not understand the organisation of the today’s meeting completely. “The way the meeting is conducted is a little bit strange. As far as I know, its initiators are Deputy Chairman Jarosław Narkiewicz and Minister Audronė Pitrėnienė, who want to find out how the accreditation process looks like. I’m not sure if such mediation is necessary. We have our plan approved and we’re carrying it out,” assured the host of Vilnius.
The mayor of the capital city stressed that the local government had advocated the Syrokomla School’s aspirations towards being the so-called “long gimnazjum.” “We’ve talked with the Ministry. According to them, the school can be accredited as the long gimnazjum, […] though in the beginning it wanted to be a Christian gimnazjum. I’ve even talked with the archbishop to make the curia one of the founders, but we didn’t enter into contract. Now it’s going to be a gimnazjum specialising in humanities. […] Just as we’ve promised, we’ll help the Władysław Syrokomla Secondary School with the accreditation. We’re going to send the documents either in the summer or at its beginning,” explained Šimašius.
The mayor added that there should be also no problems with accreditation of the Joachim Lelewel School. The famous “school number five” in Vilnius wants to be an engineering gimnazjum. In the interview Šimašius confirmed that the tender for the school renovation contractor is due to be settled in early June, and, towards the end of the next month, renovation of the school building at Minties Street, where the gimnazjum is going to function from September, is due to begin. The work may be delayed if the tender should be appealed. “I don’t think this will happen, because the competition is public, conditions are clear, so there’s no reason to appeal,” the mayor said.
Tłumaczenie by Karolina Katarzyńska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Katarzyńska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.