• April 24, 2015
  • 262

The results of the standardized final Lithuanian language exam as the subject of the conference in Sejmas

In 2013, for the first time high school graduates of all schools in Lithuania (Lithuanian, Polish and Russian schools) took a standardized Lithuanian language exam. The exam was standardized under amendment to the Education Act of 17 March 2011. The conference dedicated to the results of the political decision took place today in the Lithuanian Sejmas. The conference “Standardized Lithuanian language exam – a challenge for students, teachers and schools” was initiated by Jarosław Narkiewicz, the vice-president of Sejmas. The participants of the debate are politicians, the Ministry of Education and Science officials, heads of schools, Lithuanian language teachers working in the national minorities’ schools.

Opening the conference, the vice-president of Sejmas Jarosław Narkiewicz mentioned that the Education Act was amended against the experts’ opinion, regardless of the school communities’ protests and more than 60 thousands of the collected signatures. It was – as he pointed out – a political decision.

Józef Kwiatkowski, the Lithuanian MP and the head of the Teachers’ of the Polish Schools in Lithuania Association “Macierz Szkolna”, presented the results of the standardized final exam in 2013 and 2014. As he ephasized, the results of the exam in Polish schools in Šalčininkai and Vilnius District Municipalities were worse in comparison to the results in Lithuanian schools.

The standpoint of the Education Ministry and of politicians who decided to standardize the exam was supported by Audronė Pitrėnienė, the leader of the governmental Education, Science and Culture Committee, and by Genoveita Krasauskienė, the vice-minister of Education and Science. Audronė Pitrėnienė said that the insufficient Lithuanian languge skills and the deteriorating exam results not only are the problem of national minorities’ schools. “We are worried about the Lituanian language results either, they are worse than we expected. Lithuanian language is an old and difficult language, and when we connect it with the effects of using modern technologies, we will see a deteriorating language correctness.” the deputy said. “The exam tasks are standardized, but the evaluating criteria have been changed, in case of the national minorities’ schools we use evaluating credits. Therefore, it is not true that the students of national minorities schools take the same exam as the students of Lithuanian schools.

Nowhere in the world there are differentiated final exams on the state language.” Audronė Pitrėnienė claimed.

Adam Błaszczykiewicz, the head of the John Paul II Secondary School in Vilnius said that in 2011 there was a political decision taken by the government, and its effects are visible now. “My opinion has not changed since 2011: a horse has been harnessed behind a wagon and it still stays there. The Lithuanian teachers are doing what they can, even in first grades they use Lithuanian handbooks and curriculum. The politicians use only statistics. As they claim, the exam results in non-Lithuanian and Lithuanian schools differ insignificantly. In 2014, 88.44 % students of Lithuanian Schools passed the exam, when in minorities’ schools there were 83.73% passed exams. The difference would be insignificant if the exam result had been unimportant in the the process of admissions to universities. If the education system was prepared properly for the reform, the exam results would be equal in both Lithuanian and national minorities’ schools” – Adam Błaszczykiewicz said.

According to the head of the Polish school, what has been done does not increase Polish students’ love to the Lituanian language. “The results caused that it is more difficult to grow up decent Lithuanian citizens at school, more and more high school graduates decide to study abroad, because as they say: <Here we are useless>. Our generation went through the Soviet school, we learnt how to conform, but do we expect same thing from the young generation, 25 years after regaining our independence?” Adam Błaszczykiewcz rhetorically asked.

The Lithuanian teachers: Audronė Balčiūnaitė, an expert from P.K. Parczewski Secondary School in Niemeczyn, Lucija Mickevič-Ozarovska from M. Baliński Secondary School in Jaszuny, Ina Staikūnienė from Wł. Syrokomla High School in Vilnius, presented their experience in teaching and preparing students for the final Lithuanian language exam in the national minorities’ schools.

The students of Polish schools and their parents participate in the conference. The passing a resolution is planned at the end of the discussion.

On the basis of: lrs.lt, inf.wł.

Translated by Julita Filant within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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