- September 1, 2011
The first school bell with a touch of rebellion
The first school bell at all schools in Lithuania invited students to desks. This year there are over 400000 students, which includes more than 30000 first-year students.
It is estimated that Polish schools have around 1000 first-year students. This number has remained stable for several years. However, the ceremony of the beginning of the new school year in Polish schools was overshadowed by the present situation, which was created (in spite of numerous protests) as a result of the passing of the new Act on Education, which clearly discriminates schools of ethnic minorities. Therefore, the 2nd September will begin differentlly than usually – not in a school desk, but with the protest against the new act.
Parents of the students were also talking about this during the ceremony of the beginning of the new school year in H. Sienkiewicz High School in Landwardów. This morning, together with their parents and other students from Polish schools, students from Landwardów will visit the President’s Office to express their indignation concerning the experiments such as the new Act on Education, which visibly deteriorates the state of education of students belonging to ethnic minorities.
However, the beginning of the new school year is, above all, a holiday, especially for the first-year students, who shyly holding their parents’ hands were looking around the new surroundings. They will spend here 20 years of their life, here they will experience their first successes and disappointments, here – as they said tentatively to a microphone under the watchful eyes of a teacher,, Krystyna Trójko – “days will pass busily above the course books, above the notebooks”. Thanks to their compatriots from Poland, every first grade student and reception class received a fully equipped rucksack as a present,.
The first school bell of this new school year was also different for another reason, which was actually funnier. Along with the beginning of the new school year, the school started its 20th year of functioning as an independent outpost with Polish as a language of instruction. The upcoming jubilee was an opportunity to remind about the first steps taken by the school.
– This year is special for us. In 1992, as the school No. 2, we separated from the Russian school. At that time we had 13 classes and 20 teachers. We received two thirds of all rooms, but we did not get any financial support. I remember well when we were collecting money, each person – 1000 “wagnorki” and we renovated the school together – recalls the director, Franciszek Żeromski during the interview with “Kurier”.
The smell of a fresh paint and a shining cozy school greeted also its students and teachers this year. The Polish school in Landwardów was visited yesterday by about 260 students, including 14 first-year students and 18 students of reception class. A cheerful buzz of 32 kindergarteners can also be heard this year. The kindergarten was opened last year thanks to the help of Troki region and the “Polish Community”. Due to this foundation and the government, the 1st and 3rd floor of the school were renovated. Some doors and windows were also changed.
– 51% of all costs of the renovation was covered by the government, 49% – by the “Polish Community”. Additionally, we received 10000 LTL from the government in order to buy furniture. We have already ordered wardrobes to 10 classrooms, because blackboards and desks are virtually new. Every classroom has also an access to Internet. We owe a lot to our government, especially to the deputy, Jarosław Narkiewicz, who contributed towards gaining of the financial reimbursement for renovations and creation of kindergarten groups – said grateful director of the school.
In the course of the present year, as he said, the next phase of renovations is planned – insulation of the interior and exterior walls, exchange of the heating system and the roof.
It is a pity that not only the building and learning conditions are important – above all, the most vital are the results of the exams and the future of students. 3 out of 25 high school graduates of this year left the school with the honours degrees, 9 of them had good and very good grades. 64% was admitted to universities.
– 5 people chose Giedymin Technical University in Vilnius, 4 people – M. Romer University, 2 people – University in Vilnius and another 2 – Giedymin Pedagogical University. Our high school graduates will also study at the branch of the University of Bialystok in Vilnius, at the Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education in Kaunas and at the College in Vilnius. Some went to vocational schools, others started working – said the director and he added that now they will not only think about the upcoming jubilee, but they will also try to acquire the status of a junior high-school.
Tłumaczenie: Karolina Krześniak (w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu) Translated by Karolina Krześniak (within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu).