- November 19, 2012
Quo Vadis Young Poles?
On November, 17-18, 2012 the conference entitled ‘Quo Vadis Young Poles’ took place in the Polonia Castle (Dom Polonii) in Pultusk; and was chiefly devoted to the problems concerning the education in mother tongue of Poles living across the Eastern border.
The dominant topics covered at the conference were education institutions and education of Poles in the post-soviet states. Most speakers focused on the state of higher education. One of the conference organizers, dr Robert Wyszyński from the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw underlined the fact that first students from the East came to Poland as early as 1988. Additionally, he dubbed the studies in Poland a kind of “prosthesis”. To some degree, higher education institutions in Poland function as the substitutes of the Eastern ones.They provide an access to courses conducted in Polish- a possibility lacking in the East. Therefore, dr Robert Wyszyński asked the conference participants to submit the proposals that would improve current state of affairs.
Dr Bogusław Szymański, the Director of the Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange, shared his past experience and unveiled the future plans of the institution.
13 speeches were given in total. The majority of the speakers came from Ukraine. Prof. dr hab. Romuald Brazis, the founder of the Association of Polish Scientists in Lithuania (SNPL) and the Polish University of Vilnius, acted as a representative of Lithuania. He expounded upon the history and founding of the Polish University of Vilnius. Moreover, he mentioned the soviet times when he used to be a student of the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences. At that time the courses with Polish as the teaching language were available at the university. In the 90’s prof. dr hab. Brazis set himself an ultimate goal of reestablishing in Lithuania the higher education in Polish. The Polish University of Vilnius could not be registered. However, he managed to establish the Vilnius branch of the University of Bialystok.
Maciej Macieboch, the Chancellor of the Academy of Agribusiness in Lomza, discussed the student scholarships and presented the project aimed at providing the youth from Vilnius Region with a necessary aid. For several years now, the graduates of Polish schools in Lithuania can apply for the admission to the Academy that affords an opportunity for undertaking studies at a high level. The university offers tuition-free studies programme, free dinners, dorms for PLN 50 only and scholarships amounting to PLN 500 per month. Around PLN 3,250 000 is allocated annually for the scholarships granted to the students from the Vilnius Region.
Barbara Jundo-Kaliszewska, a postgraduate from the University of Lodz, who comes from Eišiškės, directed the public’s attention towards the political bias and dependence on the subsidies of the Polish press in Lithuania. She presented a paper entitled ‘Polish press in Lithuania in the 90’s’ in which she stressed the fact that all modern-day Lithuanian newspapers printed in Polish were set up in the second half of the 80’s and the first half of the 90’s.
Other conference participants from Lithuania include: Rajmund Klonowsk from “Kurier Wilieński” (“the Courier of Vilnius”); and a delegation from the Saleczniki region with two principals of Polish schools: Teresa Sawiel, the principal of the Anna Krepsztul High School in Butrimonys, and Kazimierz Karpicz, the principal of the Michał Baliński High School in Jašiūnai.
The conference was organized by Inter-university Organization of Borderland Inhabitants and the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw. The conference was held under the patronage of the Association “Polish Community”.
Tłumaczenie Karolina Jasińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Jasińska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.