• May 2, 2013
  • 238

Polish schools targeted by the new government of the Troki Area

Fot. Marian Paluszkiewcz

Last week on the website of the local government of the Troki Area there was released a proposal concerning a reorganization of schools in the Troki Area.

A text titled ‘The area schools are expected to change’, given as a government information without the author. The text tells us that six secondary schools in the region – including three Polish – do not meet the requirements of high school and as soon as from 1 September 2014 they should not form the 11th year. And in 2015 the schools should be transformed into elementary schools.

In January, in the Troki Area there was a political upheaval, and from the ruling coalition were expelled representatives of the Liberals and the Centre and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. The new coalition, consisting of five parties, in which the first fiddles are played by the Social Democrats and the Labour Party, is going to liquidate of Polish schools in the Troki Area.

The official reason is lack of money. According to calculations, the Polish and several Lithuanian schools lack of financial resources to ensure the quality of teaching.

Early this year, specialists of Finance & Budget at the local government calculated that schools existing in the region are going to lack as much as 1.6 million litas. In 2013, to the school funding there was allocated 23 million and 32 thousand Litas. In comparison with 2012, the students’ basket fell by 5.2 percent, or about 1 million 274 000 litas. The government administration is looking for a solution, although for many years, the same administration, led, admittedly, by representatives of the other parties, was able to keep the network of Polish and Lithuanian schools in the area.

Shortly after the political change, especially the headmasters of Polish schools were forced to drastically save money. The schools promised to reduce the rates of remuneration for teachers, unpaid leave and liquidation of non-formal learning in practice, extra work and preparation of specialized programs. All this in order to save money. However, the decisions of the schools’ management do not satisfy the authorities of the region and in the corridors of government it is planned to accelerate the changes in the area’s education. The local Poles say more about the first steps of the liquidation of Polish education in Troki.

According to the local government’s information, three Polish schools were listed: in Troki, in Połuknie, and H. Sienkiewicz School in Landwarowo. as well as the three Lithuanian schools, ‘Medeinos’ in Połuknie, one in Wysoki Dwór and one in Hanuszyszki. Although it was given that the government expects the working group of the Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuania, which is currently working on a project improving the methodology of the so-called students’ basket, the new government began consultations with the community.

They were commenced with arrogance and lack of respect for the school community. The hour announced for Monday’s visit to H. Sienkiewicz Polish High School was changed three times. Guests waited first for 11 am, then for 13 pm, still later, for 14, and ultimately the participants were honored by the ‘distinguished’ guests’ presence at 16.30.

The local government delegation consisting of vice-mayor Wojciech Winskiewicz, deputy director of the local government, Artūras Rimkus and councilors Vincas Olechnovičius and Nijolė Ramaškienė, arrived in the Polish school after a meeting with the community of Russian schools in Lentvaris, located literally behind the wall, as it is in the same building. The meeting was also attended by Vice-President of the Parliament, President of Troki district branch of ZPL, Jaroslaw Narkiewicz, and local councilor, Teresa Soloviev.

Despite rumors that the authorities were going to propose to combine the minority schools, meating the Polish and Russian in Lentvaris, no such suggestion was made during the meeting. The politicians’ declarations were general and not answering any questions coming from the educators and parents.

At Sienkiewicz High School there was appointed Defence Committee of the School, led by a parent, Mieczyslaw Pławski. The representatives of the authorities were provided with an appeal of the committee, which will also be sent to the Ministry of Education and Science, and to the organizations in Poland and Lithuania. Representatives of the school announced a battle for the future of their children, their education from kindergarten through high school in their native language.

– It is difficult to call our discussion with the authorities ‘a consultation’. The authorities have not proposed any reasonable resolution of the situation – says Olha Kondratowicz, a Polish teacher.

– The regions’ authorities should not forget that the Polish school was built in 80 percent for the Polish state money, so if you change the status of the schools, the money will have to be paid back – adds a representative of parents, Beata Skurzyńska.

Unofficially, it is said that the reason for hasty decisions the new government is not really a lack of money. The idea is that the community of Polish schools in the Troki Area and for many years has secured success to the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. The newly formed coalition wants to change that in the coming local elections, hitting the Polish education.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2013/05/02/polskie-szkoly-na-celowniku-nowej-wladzy-rejonu-trockiego/

Tłumaczenie by Emil Iracki w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emil Iracki within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu. 

Related post

‘Half a loaf is better than none’? New national minorities bill.

Up until now, the Lithuanian national minorities’ rights have been regulated partially by special laws (e.g.…

White-and-red march through Vilnius and a rally in schools’ defence. ‘Poles want normalcy’.

A two thousandth white-and-red march passed through the streets of Vilnius on Saturday, March 23. Participants…

Issues of Polish education have been raised in front of parents and teachers.

The discussion on current issues in Polish education in Lithuania was initiated by the Forum of…