“Process of accreditation of Polish schools was too long , and so complicated, that it actually last for recent 5 years. This cost a lot of teachers’ and politicians’ nerves”- says Józef Kwiatkowski, president of Polish School’s Motherland in Lithuania.
“From the very beginning the conditions of accreditation and other criteria that were imposed caused that only 13 Polish schools could be granted the junior high school status. I do not want to say that it was a stupidity- statesmen think what they do. If the government proposed such conditions, it made this on purpose, in order to somehow reduce or maybe even destroy Polish education in Lithuania. If there were 13 schools left then young people, primarily from rural areas, would be deprived of a possibility to get the middle education in their mother tongue”- stresses Kwiatkowski.
“If not for the protests, petitions, general backlash of Polish society, the biggest, few-thousand marches from parliament to government, if not for the political help from Rzeczpospolita, active engagement of the ambassador Jarosław Czubiński, being granted an accreditation would be impossible”- adds president of School’s Motherland.
Asked about criticised by the opponents engaging students in strikes and pickets, Kwiatkowski says:
“I would change the word “exploiting” into “organising”. The base of organisation was a party because parties are obligated to organise. In this case the aim was not a pedagogical process but the political one. But it started also grassroots actions, which says a lot. Strike committees were founded, parent’s forum”.
“We hear opinions whether or not it is worth to accredit small schools. Those who have doubts should better ask students and parents in Dziewieniszki, Trugiele, Bujwidze. They would have to go to schools for 20 kilometres or go to schools with state teaching language”- comments Józef Kwiatkowski.
In the conversation with the president of Polish School’s Motherland- about unifying the exam on Lithuanian, perspectives of development of Polish education in Lithuania and about preparing Polish faculty.
Tłumaczenie by Agnieszka Bladowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agnieszka Bladowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.