- August 3, 2011
Exam relief – pleases and worries
Józef Kwiatkowski, President of the Association of Teachers of Polish Schools in Lithuania“Alma Mater”, called the information about introducing next year a relief for the graduates of national minority schools, “an attempt to rescue the situation”. The information, announced by the Lithuanian Ministry of Education, applies to students taking the matura exam of the Lithuanian language. Kwiatkowski fears that the change in the previously announced exam mode will increase the tensions between Lithuanians and Lithuanian Poles.
The Ministry of Education announced that the Lithuanian language exam for the students of non-Lithuanian high schools, among them the Polish ones, will be extended by one hour. During the examination students will have access to the Lithuanian dictionaries and they will also be able to quote the work of various authors (not only Lithuanian) while writing the essay.
According to the President of the Association of Teachers of Polish Schools inLithuania“Alma Mater”, Józef Kwiatkowski, the change in the tone of the Lithuanian Ministry of Education shows the complexity of the current situation, as well as the inability to solve it by the Lithuanian authorities. “Let’s say it openly. The decision about unifying the mode of the Lithuanian language exam for the graduates of both Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian schools worked neither from the pedagogical, nor the practical or political point of view,” the President of “Alma Mater” said in an interview for “Wilnoteka”.
Kwiatkowski expressed his satisfaction that the decision makers did listen to the criticism of the educational policy pursued by the Lithuanian Ministry of Education. He fears, however, that the announced introduction of exam relief for high school students may only worsen the already strained Polish-Lithuanian relations.
Chairman of the Electoral Action of Poles inLithuania, MEP Waldemar Tomaszewski, has a similar view. In an interview with news agency BNS he said that he appreciates the decision of the Ministry of Education to introduce incentives, however, he believes that the idea of the unification of the Lithuanian language exam was inherently wrong. Unlike Kwiatkowski, the chairman of the EAPL actually expects that the ministerial decision will reduce the tension that exists between Lithuanians and Lithuanian Poles.
According to the Law on Education, adopted in Lithuania in March, the Lithuanian language matura exam for students of Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian schools was to be unified since 2013. Representatives of national minorities living inLithuania(including the Polish minority) have from the beginning criticized the decision of the Lithuanian authorities. In their opinion, it was a misunderstanding to require the same knowledge of the Lithuanian language from the minority high school students as from the students of Lithuanian schools.
The changes announced by the Lithuanian Ministry of Education only partially solve the problem concerning the education of national minorities. According to the Law on Education adopted in March, from September, in national minority schools the lessons of the Lithuanian history and geography and of the knowledge of the world, in the part concerning Lithuania, are to be conducted in Lithuanian. The subject named “the basis of patriotic education” is also to be taught entirely in the Lithuanian language.
Representatives of the Polish community inLithuania, including the Association of Teachers of Polish Schools “Alma Mater”, criticize the assumptions of the Law on Education of National Minorities. The representatives are in fact convinced that the laws are discriminatory and violate the principles of equality as well as student rights.
Based on: delfi.lt, private information
Tłumaczenie Magdalena Adamczyk w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu Translated by Magdalena Adamczyk within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu
Korekta Małgorzata Juchniewicz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu