• December 6, 2011
  • 8

Are Polish schools in Lithuania worse than Lithuanian ones?

Polscy uczniowe na egzaminie, fot. wilnoteka.l

Lithuanian education authorities and media widely publicise the thesis of the supposedly low level of knowledge of graduates of Polish schools, insufficient command of Lithuanian, more difficult start and integration problems in the Lithuanian society. The aim of the study “Are Polish schools in Lithuania worse than Lithuanian ones?” was to confront in Vilnius the above mentioned thesis with the ranking of schools in Lithuania, published by the independent magazine “Veidas”, released data of the National Examination Centre, test results of the Michal Romer University and the Institute of Labour and Social Research . The initiator of the study is a social movement Forum of Polish Schools’ Parents. The research was led by Dr. Miroslaw Szejbak together with his research team.

The study demonstrated that the presented statements do not correspond to reality. Thesis on supposedly low level of knowledge of graduates of Polish schools is emphasised particularly in the context of district schools. The study included neighbouring schools, Polish and Lithuanian, in the localities inhabited densely by Polish population. Under the new law on education, precisely these schools are critisised and put into a danger of getting closing down.

The results of neighbouring Polish and Lithuanian schools were analysed using methods of descriptive statistics. A central tendency of two sets was examined: rankings of Polish schools and adjacent Lithuanian schools. The average of rankings of Polish schools for the last five years was 337.4, and Lithuanian ones was 347.4. A smaller value means a better ranking, the average performance of Polish schools is thus better than the Lithuanian one. The analysis of neighbouring schools indicated that in 57% cases over the past 5 years a Polish school has been better than a Lithuanian one. Thus, the thesis of a better quality of teaching in a school with the state language is a myth, and the new Education Act in fact aims to close a school which offers better education than the neighboring school with state teaching programme.

Rankings of Polish schools in the city of Vilnius reflect positive trends of development. When in the years 2007-2009 the best schools were scored in the second hundred, then in 2010, already two schools were among the first hundred, and in 2011 all Polish-language schools in Vilnius can be found in a first hundred. This means that they are among 20% best schools in Lithuania.

The study of Lithuanian language programmes compares the content of the state language programme  of grades 5-10 with the requirements of the average programme content. The content of the unified native language programme includes 156 mandatory literary works, out of which only 15 items were analysed in a state language primary school, which represents 17% of the required works. Some of them are not even part of the native language programme.   The programme includes also  91 contextual pieces, out of which students in grades 5-10 analysed only 14, meaning 15% of the programme. Overall, within 2 years, students should analyse and interpret 141 obligatory works and 77 contextual pieces. Such number is disproportionate to physical and perceptual capabilities of 11th grade students of a Polish school.

The comparison of examination results  from Lithuanian as a native language (for final year students of Lithuanian secondary schools) and the state language (for final year students of non-Lithuanian secondary schools) refutes the thesis of the supposedly worse results of graduates from non-Lithuanian schools. The average percentage of students who successfully passed the state language exam constitutes 89.2%, and the native language – 87.06%. Thus, the result of schools of national minorities is higher by 2 percentage points. Better results are achieved despite a higher threshold for graduates from non-Lithuanian schools. The average minimum number of required points for non-Lithuanian school graduates in the years 2004-2011 was 16% higher than for graduates of Lithuanian schools. This fact contradicts the claims of supposedly easier exams for students of national minorities’ schools. Graduates of non-Lithuanian schools receive an average of 9% points more than students of Lithuanian schools, which indicates their higher quality of knowledge.

Introduction  

The influential weekly magazine “Veidas” has been carrying out rankings of junior high and secondary schools in Lithuania since 2007. The criteria for rankings are updated each year. In 2007-2010 school results were evaluated using the following criteria:

• What proportion of students from the total number of graduates entered Lithuanian and foreign universities?
• Among the ones entering universities in Lithuania it was taken into account how many students got into university of their first choice. When applying for higher education, a graduate fills up a form, stating the name of the course and the university, into which he would like to be accepted according to the selected order. The ranking takes into account whether a particular student got into the course, listed as first choice on his application form.

Taking into account the critique of pedagogical environmental for its one-sidedness of research, in 2011, the following four criteria were added to the aforementioned ones: percentage of students who passed the state exams from Lithuanian language, foreign language, mathematics and history at the maximum score of 90-100%. Therefore, the results from 2011 more precisely demonstrate the level of knowledge, which a talented student had a chance to gain, when studying in this school.

First myth:  

Graduates of Polish schools are worse off than their peers from state language schools

The data from the years 2007-2010 shows the percentage of students who entered the universities. Not all students have such goal, but we assume (similarly as the organisers of this ranking) that higher proportion finding their way to college means better start. The data from 2011 includes also results from Matura exams. In this case, better results also indicate better start.

In order to test the given thesis, the results of neighbouring schools: Polish and Lithuanian were compared. When the thesis of the superiority of Lithuanian schools over Polish ones is promoted, Lithuanian Poles are offered a choice of a local Lithuanian school. Therefore, comparing the results of neighbouring schools is applicable for parents of children from a particular locality. Such comparison enables to demonstrate, whether in fact after the completion of a neighbouring Lithuanian school, a Polish child will have a better start.

Study of neighbouring Polish and Lithuanian schools
On the basis of the list of educational institutions according to the AIKOS system, a neighbouring Lithuanian and Polish school, located in the same place, has been identified. (See Table 1)

Table 1. The list of localities, densely inhabited by Polish population, where Polish and Lithuanian schools neighbour each ther.

Locality

Ethnic Composition (2001)

Source

Soleczniki10% Lithuanians, 79% Poles,5% Russianshttp://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gmina_rejonowa_Soleczniki
Niemenczyn24,2% Lithuanians, 56,3% Poles,12,1% Russians, 7,2% Belarusianshttp://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niemenczyn
Rudamina30,2% Lithuanians, 57% Poleshttp://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudaminos_seniūnija
Bezdany15% Lithuanians, 65% Poleshttp://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bezdonių_seniūnija
Kowalczuki5,3% Lithuanians, 62,8% Poles,3,5% Russians, 7 % Belarusianshttp://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalvelių_seniūnija
Landwarów41,7% Lithuanians, 24,2% Poles15% Russians, 5,5% Belarusianshttp://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lentvario_seniūnija
Podbrzezie66% Poles, 15,3% Lithuanians,14,4% Russianshttp://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starostwo_Podbrzezie
Turgiele(according to data of solecznicki region)79% Poles, 10% Lithuanians, 5% Russians,3% Belarusians, 1% Ukrainianshttp://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gmina_rejonowa_Soleczniki
Ejszyszki(according to data of solecznicki region)79% Poles, 10% Lithuanians,5% Russians, 3% Belarusians, 1% Ukrainianshttp://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gmina_rejonowa_Soleczniki
Nowa Wilejka29% Lithuanians, 34% Poles,20% Russians, 9% Belarusians http://naujojivilnia.blogas.lt/naujosios-vilnios-tautine-sudetis-194.html
Jaszuny70% Poles, 10% Russians,
5% Lithuanians
http://www.salcininkai.lt/lit/Jasiunu_seniunija/133/3/21
Rejon trocki53% Lithuanians, 33% Poles, 9% Russianshttp://www.trakai.lt/index.php?3572356772
Czarny bór23,7% Lithuanians, 53,7% Poles, 17,1% Russianshttp://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juodšilių_seniūnija
Troki62,7% Lithuanians, 21,0% Poles,9,3% Russians, 1,2% Karaimshttp://www.vilnijosvartai.lt/locations/listing/?id=214
Mejszagoła26,2% Lithuanians, 60% Poles, 5,7% Russianshttp://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maišiagalos_seniūnija

 Lithuanian officials and media claim that Polish schools are worse than Lithuanian ones. In order to check the general statement, calculation of central tendency, namely the arithmetic average of two sets, is required: results of Lithuanian and Polish schools. The arithmetic mean of the analysed Polish schools over the past 5 years is 337.4, while the Lithuanian schools’ from the same localities – 347.4. The average points out that the results of Polish schools are not worse than those of Lithuanian schools, and are even 3% better. The study on the average central tendency refutes the promoted thesis of the alleged lower level of Polish schools. The study was carried out on the basis of rankings of schools in Lithuania. (Table 2)

Table 2. Positions of Polish schools (Pl) and Lithuanian (Lt) from Vilnius Region in years 2007-2011 in rankings of the weekly magazine „Veidas“. Significantly better result of a Polish school was written in bold on the green background. 

Nazwa szkoły / Mokyklos pavadinimas20072008200920102011
Soleczniki: Pl – Gimnazjum im. J. Śniadeckiego 330

 

339

 

175

 

191

 

252

 

Soleczniki: Lt – Lietuvos tūkstantmečio gimnazija

141

283

 

395

 

333

 

198

 

Niemenczyn: Pl – Gimnazjum im. K. Parczewskiego

37

 

143

 

413

54

 

69

 

Niemenczyn: Lt – Gedimino gimnazija 

258

 

434

 

372

 

227

 

142

 

Rudomina: Pl – Gimnazjum im. F. Ruszczyca

307

 

369

 

290

 

429

 

237

 

Rudomina: Lt – “Ryto” gimnazija 

207

 

495

 

338

 

317

 

Bezdany: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. J. Słowackiego

535

 

380

 

440

 

497

 

145

 

Bezdany: Lt – Bezdonių vidurinė mokykla 

114

 

513

 

468

 

443

 

325

 

Jaszuny: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. M. Balińskiego 

499

 

452

 

408

 

365

 

392

 

Jaszuny: Lt – “Aušros” vidurinė mokykla

447

 

376

 

501

 

383

 

221

 

Kowalczuki: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. S. Moniuszki 

399

 

492

 

505

 

61

 

230

 

Kowalczuki: Lt – Kalvelių 2-oji vidurinė mokykla 

480

 

530

 

509

 

165

 

328

 

Landwarów: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. H. Sienkiewicza 

338

 

410

 

346

 

71

 

195

 

Landwarów: Lt – M. Šimelionio gimnazija 

483

 

447

 

472

 

360

 

359

 

Podbrzezie: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. św. S. Kostki 

418

 

469

 

459

 

399

 

309

 

Podbrzezie: Lt –  “Verdenės” vidurinė mokykla 

441

 

320

 

266

 

177

 

407

 

Nowa Wilejka (Wilno): Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. J.I.Kraszewskiego 

315

 

278

 

303

 

99

 

92

 

Nowa Wilejka (Wilno): Lt – Laisvės gimnazija

284

 

274

425

 

310

 

247

Turgiele: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. P.K. Brzostowskiego   488

 

467

 

311

 

491

 

415

 

Turgiele: Lt – Turgelių vidurinė mokykla 

487

 

494

 

456

 

Czarny Bór: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. Św. Urszuli Ledóchowskiej 

396

 

468

 

401

 

458

 

458

 

Czarny Bór: Lt – Šilo vidurinė mokykla 

419

 

429

 

420

 

391

 

225

 

Mejszagoła: Pl – Szkoła Średnia im. ks. J. Obrembskiego 

322

 

227

 

500

 

434

 

457

 

Mejszagoła: Lt – LDKun. Algirdo vidurinė mokykla 

397

 

249

 

379

 

332

 

183

 

Ejszyszki: Pl – Gimnazjum w Ejszyszkach 

489

 

498

 

479

 

451

 

125

 

Ejszyszki: Lt – St. Rapolionio gimnazija 

224

 

505

 

288

 

427

 

339

 

Połuknie: Pl – Szkoła Średnia w Połukniu 

304

 

527

 

514

 

493

 

457

 

Połuknie: Lt – “Medeinos” vidurinė mokykla

424

 

526

 

480

 

404

 

421

 

Troki: Pl – Szkoła Średnia w Trokach

34

 

440

 

277

 

64

 

174

 

Troki: Lt – Vytauto Didžiojo gimnazija 

256

 

141

 

216

 

175

 

110

 

Table 2. In total it includes results from 15 Polish schools (75 results) from the last 5 years, out of which 41 schools are better. In 3 cases, the result of the Polish school cannot be compared due to the lack of data from the Lithuanian school. 41 better results out of 72 possible (75-3) gives 57% ofa total number.

The results from 2011  more accurately reflect  the level of achieved knowledge, because they take Matura exam results into consideration.  This year (2011) 9 of 15 schools has a higher position in comparison to neighbouring Lithuanian schools. This means that 60% of Polish schools achieves better results. Most analysed schools are schools  from districts of: Vilnius, Solecznikai and Trakai . Those are precisely the schools that are often being criticised because of the alleged low level of education.

School of the city of Vilnius
There are 5 schools offering secondary education only in Polish language in Vilnius , other have Polish classes apart from Russian or/and Lithuanian. Data from mixed schools does not allow for separation of the results of aPolish bloc. Thus, the condition of Polish education in the city was examined on the basis of rankings of Polish schools. (Table 3)

Table 3. Rankings of Polish schools from the years 200p align=”center”7-2011. Places 1-100 were written in bold and on the green background, places 101-200 – with yellow colour of background and in italics.

Ranking of Polish schoolū p align=”center”/ps inp align=”right” the city of Vilnius20072008200920102011
Gimnazjum im. Adama Mickiewicza

145

198

 

149

 

274

54

Gimnazjum im. Jana Pawła II

185

145

174

60

57

Szkoła Średnia im. Szymona Konarskiego w Wilnie

290

290

439

322

99

Szkoła Średnia im. Józefa Ignacego Kraszewskiego w Wilnie

315

278

303

99

92

Szkoła Średnia im. Władysława Syrokomli w Wilnie

218

102

 

187

 

249

42


Table 3. demonstrates positive trends of development of Polish schools in the city of Vilnius. When the years 2007-2009 the best schools were scored in the second hundred, then in 2010, already two schools were among the first hundred, and in 2011 all Polish-language schools in Vilnius can be found in a first hundred. This means that they are among 20% best schools in Lithuania

 
The study on central tendency of the results of Polish schools in the city of Vilnius demonstrates a constant growth trend. (Chart 1)

Summary. The study of central tendency showed that the average position of Polish schools is not worse that the average of Lithuanian schools. In 57% cases in 2007-2011, Polish schools occupy a higher position than neighbouring Lithuanian schools. Results from 2011 indicate even more increasing trend, already 60% of schools ranked higher. All the Polish schools in the city of Vilnius in 2011 are among the top 20% schools in Lithuania. As graduates of Polish schools are doing better at Matura exams and get accepted easier at the universities, the thesis of the supposedly worse start after the completion of a Polish school is not supported.

Second  myth:
Graduates of Polish schools have an insufficient command of the state language

The data from 2011 includes also the results of Matura exams. Students take these exams  in Lithuanian. The exam from history is the exception, as a student receives the questions in Lithuanian, but has the right to respond in his/her native language. No data is available, which would indicate how many students use this right. However, the command of Lithuanian language is necessary in order to understand the questions at the exam from history and to pass all other exams.

Based on the results of Matura exams, officially listed on the website of the National Examination Centre (Nacionalinis exam centras, www.nec.lt), the results of Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian students were compared. Examination from the state language meets the requirements of language proficiency, which is required for employment.

Chart 2 illustrates the percentage comparison of students, who succesfully passed the exam from the state and native language.  The chart indicates that the percentage of students, who successfully passed the exam from the state language is higher in non-Lithuanian schools than in the Lithuanian ones. The average percentage of students, who successfully passed the state language exam is 89.2%, and the native language –  87.06%. Thus, the results from national minorities’ schools are better by 2 percentage points. Notice that the percentage of students, who were successfully passing the exam from a native language in the years 2010-2011 is close to the results of the exams from the state language due to the lowered minimum number of points: in 2010 the required minimum number of points was 24.4% of the total number, and state language – 32%. And even though, despite the threshold, lowered to 7.6 percentage points, namely by 31.2%, the percentage of students, who successfully passed the exam, is higher.

Chart 2. The comparison of the results of examinations from Lithuanian as a native language (Lithuanian schools) and state (non-Lithuanian schools.  Source: www.nec.lt

The indicator of the quality of knowledge at the exam is an average number of points, collected by students of Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian schools. Chart 3 indicated that that quality of knowledge of Lithuanian of students from non-Lithuanian schools is nearly always better than of their peers from Lithuanian schools. The average number of points, collected at the Lithuanian exam for the years 2004-2011 is 52.1% of the total number of points, and at the exam from a native language – 47.3%. The difference is 4.8 percentage points, namely 9%. Thus, graduates of non-Lithuanian schools receive on average 9% more points than the graduates of Lithuanian schools.

Chart  3. Comparison of the average number of points, received at the exam by students from Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian schools.  Source:  www.nec.lt

Education authorities and the Lithuanian mass media claim that exams from Lithuanian as a state language have always been easier, although it is known that both tests are adapted to different curricula, native and taught language. However, the data coming from the National Examination Centre revealed a reverse fact: requirements for examinations from state language have always been higher than the requirements for examinations in native language. This is clearly demonstrated by the minimum number of points that a student should get in order to successfully pass the exam. Chart 4 shows that the threshold for non-Lithuanian students has always been higher than for students of Lithuanian schools. The average threshold for passing any exam in the years 2004-2010 for Lithuanian school students is 27.3%, for non-Lithuanian ones – 32.5%, which is 16% higher. Despite this, non-Lithuanian students pass the Lithuanian language exam successfully.

Chart  4. Comparison of the minimum number of points, required at the exam from state and native language. Source:  www.nec.lt

When comparing the percentage of students, who did not pass the exam, one has to take into account the unequal thresholds for the minimum exam score, that is to normalise the results with the minimum threshold. Thresholds for the examination from native language are always lower, and therefore comparison of the number of people who have successfully passed the examination is incorrect. In this case, normalised data is compared with the threshold. Chart 5 indicates that the number of students, who have not passed the exam from their native language, is higher than in non-Lithuanian schools. The average normalised number of students who did not pass the exam in Lithuanian schools, is 14.5%, while students who have not passed the exam in non-Lithuanian schools – 10.1%. The difference is 4.4 percentage points, which is 30%.

Chart 5. Comparison of the percentage of students, who did not pass the exam, normalised with the minimum threshold. Source: www.nec.lt

Summary. Quantitative and qualitative indicators of the results from Lithuanian language examination clearly indicate a good knowledge of Lithuanian among students of non-Lithuanian schools.

• The average minimum number of points required to pass the exam from Lithuanian language in the years 2004-2011 is 27.3% of the total number of points for students from Lithuanian schools and 32.5% for students of non- Lithuanian schools. The threshold for the exam from state language is 16% higher than for the exam from native language. The thesis of the supposedly easier examination from national language is not true.
• Despite the higher requirements, non-Lithuanian students pass their exams better: the average percentage of students who passed the exam from state language is 89.2%, and the native language – 87.06%.
• The average number of students, who do not pass exams from Lithuanian language is 30%  higher (4.4 percentage points) in Lithuanian schools – 14.5%, non-Lithuanian schools- 10.1%.
• For the last 5 years, graduates from non-Lithuanian schools have received on average 9% points more from Lithuanian language exam than students in Lithuanian schools.

The above presented results confirm the high level of teaching of the state language in national minorities’ schools, which surely can and should be further improved. Even lowered thresholds for the minimum number of points do not allow Lithuanian graduates to achieve the results of their peers from non-Lithuanian schools.

Third myth:
Unified programme would enhance the knowledge of Lithuanian .

As part of improving of the allegedly insufficient knowledge of Lithuanian language, the law was passed, which aims to unify teaching of Lithuanian language in schools of national minorities and in Lithuanian schools. The Act imposes a change of teaching programme of Lithuanian language as a taught language for the teaching programme of Lithuanian as a native language in schools of national minorities.  Merely this fact causes great protests, because Lithuanian is not a native language for people of non-Lithuanian nationality. Methods of teaching and learning in native and taught language differ all over the world. The parents’ question, why this fact is not taken into account in Lithuania, remains unanswered.

The programme of Lithuanian language as a taught  language for schools of national minorities was designed by Lukšienė Meil, a prominent intellectual, researcher of Lithuanian literature, teacher, assistant professor of social sciences, one of the authors of the “Concept of National School “(lit. Tautinės mokyklos koncepcijos) and a member of the Lithuanian Movement for Reconstruction (Sajudis). This programme improved teaching of Lithuanian language to the level, which today enables the last year students of secondary schools to successfully pass Matura exams from Lithuanian language and study at Lithuanian universities.

The unified exam will be in force already in 2013. A student of 11th grade of a Polish school has to catch up on 10 years of programme in next 2 years. Local Government of Vilnius Region commissioned a comparison of programmes of teaching Lithuanian as a taught and native language in 1-10th grades to the University of Michal Romer. Conclusions from the report were signed by the rector of the university. (Table 4)

The number of Lithuanian authors in both programmes is similar, but the number of pieces is different, for example the native language programme includes 3 works of Biliūnas and Maironis, and the programme of the state language – one work of each authors.  Mažvydas, Daukša, Žemaitė, Vaičiulaitis and other are not discussed at all. Works of world literature according to the unified program in grades 5-10 will be analysed twice: in Polish and Lithuanian version. All this is done at the expense of Maths, English and other lessons!

Table 4. Comparison of a unified programme of Lithuanian language with the state language programme in grades 1-12. Source: Results of the study of researchers from Michal Romer University in Vilnius.

GradesAim of the native language programmeAim of the taught language programme

1 – 4

Independent reading and analysis of textVocabulary enrichment, reading of simple texts
Essay writingBasics of writing, writing of short texts

5-10

51 Lithuanian authors (works of big format)46 Lithuanian authors (fragments and works of small format)
41 works of world literatureWorks are analysed during native language lessons
The content encompasses more epochs and literary trends, emphasis on the works of Lithuanian authorsThe content familiarises students with folklore, works of small format
Starting in 5th grade, students write essays on literature texts, essays in 10th grade meet the requirements of  a secondary school exam

The programme of Lithuanian language as a state language is adapted to the needs of students learning the language. The comparison of a unified secondary school level of Lithuanian language with the state language programme showed a disproportionate burden on students in 11th grade (chart 6). Within 2 years, students should examine 156 works. In grades 5-10 students analysed only 31, which is 17% of works required for Matura examination.

 

 Chart 6. Comparison of the number of obligatory works of the unified programme of teaching of Lithuanian language at the secondary school level with the programme of state language in grades 5-10.

In addition to the mandatory works, the programme provides a discussion of recommended contextual works that help to highlight the analysed issues. The unified programme of Lithuanian language contains 91 pieces of contextual works, and in 5-10th  grades students discussed 14 of them, which is 15% of all pieces (Chart 7).

 

 

Chart 7. Comparison of the content of the unified programme of Lithuanian language on the secondary school level with the programme of state language in 5-10th  grades,

Lithuanian language teachers say that it is impossible to analyse such number of authors and works. Since the authorities insist on the date and content of the exam, teachers discuss literature at the expense of grammar. As a result, knowledge of literature might get better, but the knowledge of grammar and written language will suffer.

Parents of students of firstclasses are of the opinion that children received textbooks for learning Lithuanian language as a native language. These books do not meet the needs of a child. A child is starting to learn Lithuanian language, but has to use a textbook for native speakers. All over the world, there are different methods to teach native and taught languages. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody in Lithuania takes this fact into account.

Students in 11th grade experience constant stress due to the burden, which will undoubtedly have a negative impact not only on their knowledge of Lithuanian language and other subjects, but also on their health. Command of the language in such conditions can not be improved. Such burden discriminates students and does not allow for quality recreation, limits the choice of subjects and extracurricular activities. Publications in press (“Kurier Wileński” (Edyta Szałkowska, Lithuanian language exam – uneven start, what finish? “Kurier Wileński”, 16th  November 2011, http://kurierwilenski.lt/2011/11/16/egzamin-z-litewskiego -% e2% 80% 94-stainless …), “Dialogas” (Regina Dilienė, Kūrybiškumo pamokos arba trūksta lituanistams ko? “Dialogas”, 18th August, 2011) indicate the existing problem.

Statements of teachers, students, and publications in press indicate that teaching of Lithuanian language according to the new act will make the level of language education worse.

Fourth myth:
The low level of knowledge of Lithuanian of graduates of Polish schools makes it difficult for them to integrate into labour market

Statements about the alleged difficulties in integration of Poles into labour market because of  the insufficient knowledge of state language are an integral part of the anti-Polish information campaign.

The problem of integration of national minorities, including Poles, into labour market was studied by the Institute of Labour and Social Research in 2008 (Okunevičiūtė Neverauskienė, L. ir kt. 2008. Vyrų moterų ir, priklausančių tautinėms mažumoms, padėtis darbo rinkoje. Tyrimo ataskaita. Vilnius: Darbo ir socialinių tyrimų institutas). The study encompassed residents of localities inhabited by a non-Lithuanian population: self-governments of Vilnius and Vilnius region, as well as Klaipeda region. The number of respondents was designated according to the number of residents of selected nationalities in non-Lithuanian localities. The number of non-Lithuanian population according to the census from 2001 was 336 515. A representative group for such population should be 382 in order to make the results of the study reliable in 95%. In order to reduce the ocurrence of an error, the representative group was increased to 500 people. In fact, the survey included 622 persons. Therefore, the reliability of the test can not be questioned.

Question 21 concerned the problem of the language command:  “What is the primary reason for your unemployment?” (Original: 21 Kokios pagrindinės Jūsų neįsidarbinimo / nedarbo priežastys). Poles answered as follows:

• 33.7% – low wages,
• 24.8% – inadequate job qualifications,
• 3.9% – insufficient knowledge of Lithuanian language,
• 37.6 – other reasons.

Only 3.9% respondents indicated the knowledge of Lithuanian language as the primary reason for their unemployment, which is located in 5% of a statistical error. Thus, the study refutes the myth of difficulties with employment due to the insufficient knowledge of Lithuanian language.

The manipulation with the results of the study of the Institute was the main argument to justify the adoption of the new law on education, which deteriorates the situation of national minorities in Lithuania. The report for the year 2010 by the Agency for Fundamental Rights (Shadow Report to UN CEDR in response to the Lithuanian Government’s fourth and fifth periodic reports due in 2008. Coalition of the Lithuanian, the Centre for Human Rights, Center for Equality Advancement and Roma Community Center, February, 2011.http: / / www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/CLCHR_CEARCC_Lithuan …) demonstrates that “42% of minority representatives in Lithuania answered in the survey that they encountered problems on labour market as a result of their poor command of Lithuanian language. “Foundation after a thorough analysis of the Institute’s research found that minorities do not have problems with Lithuanian language (European Foundation of Human Rights has proved that the results cited by the Lithuanian authorities do not correspond to truth. (The European Foundation of Human Rights, Press Release, 28th March 2011, and the results of the report are incorrectly interpreted.

http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/badanie-foroszpol-czy-szkoly-polskie-na-litwie-sa-gorsze-od-litewskich

Tłumaczenie Katarzyna Słowik  w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Katarzyna Słowik 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. Corrected by Małgorzata Juchniewicz. within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu

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