• April 3, 2014
  • 202

Poles from Troki fights for their school

Wilnoteka.lt

Poles living in Troki region still fights for their rights to learn in their mother tongue. In spring of 2013, they fighted with the Local Government of Troki Region to keep the preschool groups, which were active in Polish schools of this region –eventually, they were saved. After a year, parents of students attending Polish schools in Troki and Połuknie had to stand up for the elder classes, because there were plans to donwgrade both secondary schools to the position of the primary ones. After a change in a governing coalition in Troki and detruding Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania to the opposition, the local government does not want to agree to start an accreditation for the secondary education programs by Secondary School in Troki. In Połuknie, where Polish school is under one roof with Lithuanian one, middle school classes (11-12) will stay only in Lithuanian school…

Three Lithuanian schools – Secondary School in Wysoki Dwór, D. Malinauskas Secondary Scool in Hanuszyszki and Secondary School “Medeinos” in Połuknie – and H. Sienkiewicz Secondary School in Landwarów, with Polish language of instruction late in the year 2013, gained the acceptance of the Local Government Council of Troki Region to start the process of accreditation for secondary education programs. Those schools try to gain a middle school status, i.e. to save a rank of secondary school (schools, which do not qualify for the accreditation, have to be transformed into primary schools).

Two Polish secondary schools – in Troki and in Połuknie – have been deprived of the possibility to accredit and keep twelve classes of secondary school, which – in the case of big schools and baby bust – is extremely important in order to maintain those schools. Leadership of local government found that it would be no problem, if students were commuting on classes to Landarów and transfer in Troki from places remoted by 10-15km or even more!

Polish school in Troki, according to the intention of the region leadership, would become an affiliate of H. Sienkiewicz Middle School in Landarów. Councillors decided that there would be no Polish class 11 in Troki since the 1st of September 2014. The decision of region leadership created indignation of school society, which in defence of its interests turned to the court and to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania. Ministry of education advocated for the school side, acknowleding that it meets the requirements for accreditation.

Before the crucial session of Local Government Council of Troki Region, where the final decision concerning school case had to be made, parents and teachers invited mayor Vytautas Zalieckas, councillors and officials of the local government to the meeting. The discussion was extremely stormy. Mayor cynically said that keeping school costs a lot and a middle school “every four kilometres” is “too big luxury”.

According to region leadership, there are no perspectives in Troki, because a number of children is still decreasing. As it came out, in the official statistics, it was not included that every year, school is strengthened by the alumni of A. Stelmachowski Primary School in Stare Troki. Furthermore, it is one of the last Polish secondary schools in west part of Vilnius region, so students even from outside Troki region commute there.

The opinion of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania in the case of accreditation for the Secondary School in Troki for leadership of region turned out to be insufficient. Vytautas Zalieckas announced that he plans to turn to the representative of the Governent of the Republic of Lithuania for opinion about the consistency of the project of local government act with other deeds.

Parents of students attending Troki school organised a picket in front of the local government. They have also presented their arguments during the session of Local Government Council of Troki Region. For the representatives of the governing in Troki region coalition of social democrats, conservatives and Labour Party voice of school society turned out to be menial. Councillors did not approved accreditation – they decided to wait for the opinion of the representative of government and the issue was delayed.

Class 11th remains in Polish school, though. In the very day of the session of the local government council, the official letter from Vilnius Divisional Administrative Court, which granted school with rights to continue teaching in degree of secondary school, reached the school in Troki.

Another Polish school in Troki region – Secondary School in Połuknie – since the 1st of September 2014 is going to be changed. According to the councillors decision it will be transformed into a primary school… The phantom of liquidation haunts this school for years, because it clearly loses a fight for student with Lithuanian school “Medeinos”, with which it shares one building. Unfortunately, a major part (not so long ago it was even a majority) of students of Lithuanian school are children of Polish and mixed families. It is hard to fight for saving Polish school, when even sprigs of some teachers learn… at the Lithuanian side of the “wall”, which divides both schools.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/polacy-z-trok-walcza-o-swoja-szkole

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

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