- February 28, 2013
A group of members of parliament appealed against the directive of the Minister of Education and Science
The directive of the Minister Dainius Pavalkis on allowing privileges for national minority school graduates in the Lithuanian language exam has been referred to the Supreme Administrative Court by a group of members of parliament.
The lawsuit was brought by the Conservatives Valentinas Stundys and Stasys Šedbaras and by the Liberals Gintaras Steponavičius and Dalia Teišerskytė. They request the Court to decide whether the directory signed by the Minister on 20th July, which changes the programme applying to the Lithuanian language and literature Matura exam, is in contradiction with the constitutional principles of the rule of law, the constitutional regulation on the equality of all citizens regarding the law and the Education Act.
The initiators of the lawsuit claim that by signing the mentioned directive, the Minister should have acted in accordance with the Education Act.
“The changes in the Matura exam in Lithuanian should be discussed in the General Council of Teaching, the Committee of National Examination. D. Pavalkis has consulted his action with neither of these institutions” – claim the members of parliament.
They stress also that the Matura exam is the college entrance exam at the same time and according to the general principles of enrolment established two years ago, it plays a significant role in the admission procedure on all colleges.
“The unexpected introduction of exam privileges lowers considerably the level of trust in this exam and it does not measure up to colleges’ expectations” – explain the initiators.
Lat week, the Labour Party Minister Dainius Pavalkis signed the directory last by which he validated privileges for national minority graduates in the Lithuanian language and literature Matura exam.
At the request of AWPL, the member of the ruling coalition, the exam tasks for non-Lithuanian schools graduates will be easier. The minimal number of words in an essay was fixed (400 words in the national exam and 250 words in the school exam). The graduates of Lithuanian schools will write an essay of 100 words more.
Up to now, the National Examination Centre ((Nacionalinis egzaminų centras) has organized two different Matura exams in Lithuanian language: as a mother tongue for schools with Lithuanian language of teaching and as an official language for graduates from schools of national minorities. From this year, however, in accordance with the Education Act, the exams were to be unified.
In spring 2011, the Seimas passed a new bill on education in which, among other things, new principles of Lithuanian language teaching in the schools of national minorities were established. More lessons in Lithuanian language were anticipated and from 2013 the Matura exam in this subject was to be unified; moreover, 8-year transitional period for the evaluation of the non-Lithuanian schools graduates’ exams has been anticipated. Those changes caused indignation, mainly among Poles in Lithuania.
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.