- February 11, 2013
Tomaszewski wants to step down from the ruling coalition
After the session of the political council of the ruling coalition, the leader of AWPL (the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania) Waldemar Tomaszewski announced that he wants to step down from the government due to the fact that he does not see a prospect for cooperation. The conflict has aroused not chiefly because of the situation of education but owing to bad allocating of the Budget.
‘I’m thinking about leaving the coalition because we fail to reach an agreement while working in a given majority. That is all I’ve got to say, I do not see a possibility to work in this coalition.’ – said Tomaszewski.
Despite the fact that the compromise in the issue of the Matura exam had been worked out, the conflict aroused. ‘The decision is good, compromise. Firstly, we are reducing the number of words in the essay that pupils from the schools of national minorities have to write. Secondly, pupils from those schools will be permitted to make more mistakes. The third facilitation, also for the teachers from the Lithuanian schools, is increased number of authors to choose from while writing an essay – seven instead of three authors’ – said the Minister of Education and Science, Dainius Pavalkis.
The Budget conflict
Tomaszewski’s words have surprised the prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, who said that the coalition collapse is out of the question. ‘That is some surprise. I am convinced, however, that the coalition is working steadily so it will be further working steadily. I think that there will be no differences or quarrels. We also agreed on the matter that we discussed today. We reached the compromise in all the issues’ – the Prime Minister revealed.
Tomaszewski explained that AWPL focuses rather on the Budget and not the issues of national minorities. According to the leader of AWPL, the coalition partners did not abide by the coalition contract and they failed to keep their word. ‘We had agreed on the investment projects to be looked through once again and emended. But it didn’t happen. In some places even funding was cut down. We cannot work in such a coalition where the partners do no keep their promises’ – explained Tomaszewski.
The leader of AWPL added, however, that they nearly managed to reach an agreement when it comes to education issues. ‘Concerning the national minorities, we realize that this matter is impossible to be dealt with promptly. On the other hand, we understand that parents and graduates are experiencing a stressful situation, which is not good. We’ve been looking for a compromise and we have nearly managed to reach one. Let’s say that in this case I do not bear a grudge’ – said Waldemar Tomaszewski.
The unified Lithuanian language exam
The unified exam in the official language for the schools of national minorities was one of the basic subjects of Monday meeting of the political council of the ruling coalition.
Last week, the Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevičius visited Šalčininkai. At the meeting with the graduates, the politician announced that the pupils of non-Lithuanian schools will be privileged during taking the exam.
On Sunday, the Minister of Education and Science Dainius Pavalkis told the journalists that the ruling coalition would be considering several variants of concessions for Matura exam takers. ‘Primarily, we will be discussing three things: the reduced number of words in an essay, the increased number of authors to choose from and different criteria for the exam evaluation’ – said the Minister. In the interview for the Radio ‘Znad Wilii’, the Member of Parliament Józef Kwiatkowski stressed that AWPL wants the pupils from schools of national minorities to choose from 35 instead of 3 authors while writing an essay.
The Minister of Education added that a variant in which the pupils from non-Lithuanian schools would have different exam tasks is being considered.
AWPL demands however that the new Education Act be rescinded in the next year. The leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania stated that in case when their demands are not accepted by the coalition, they may leave the government.
Tłumaczenie Barbara Rożek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Barbara Rożek the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.