- June 18, 2015
About “Lelewel” and “Syrokomlówka” during the AWPL meeting with the Ministry of Education
The end of schools’ accreditation process, which is the way of mantaining high schools proposed by the Ministry, as well as the ‘class’ basket’ as the new model of financing the schools were the topics of meeting held by the AWPL (Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania) with the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science in Lithuania. In talk, which lasted for about two hours, participated i.a. the Vice-Minister, Genoveita Krasauskienė, and the Minister Audronė Pitrėnienė, who joined for a while.
The most serious, actual and painful in its consequences topic, according to the starost of the AWPL, Rita Tamošiūnienė, concerns of course the accreditation of high schools. There was general talk on this topic but deputies brought the issues of particular schools, primarily the Lelewel High School and the Władysław Syrokomla High School.
The Lelewel High School started arranges on time, it prepared right documents – as well as the K. Daukšos school (with the Lithuanian as the teaching language – ed. note). However, Juozas Bernatonis, who temporarily has the function of the Ministry of Education, signed the agreement for the accreditation program in high schooling only for the Lithuanian school. We obtain information that the Daukšos school got worse results than Lelewel school. Nevertheless, it is the Polish school – the oldest Polish school in Vilnius – which did not receive such approval” – said Rita Tamošiūnienė in the interview with the Wilnoteka.
The meeting of the AWPL deputies with the representatives of the Ministry of Education took place a few hours earlier than the Vilnius City Municipality session, during which the decision on not completing class 11-12 in the Lelewel High School since 1st September 2015 was made. The Vice-Minister Genoveita Krasauskienė draft a letter to the government with the request for belaying the decision till the Ministry gives the final opinion about this school’s future. The City’s Council ignored the letter.
“We believe that this issues should have not touched the Council. All the decisions on completing the classes must be obtained till 31st March. Currently there is the middle of the June, the holidays have just started so parents keep calm and believe that classes 11-12 will still exist since September. Such changes should not be made in this time even by the founders of a school, in this case it’s government. Yet, the Council has reached the decision and it is the mer who made up his mind. It is worth of noting that he declared during the electoral campaign the desire to help the schools together with big love to national minorities living in Vilnius and he emphasised the multiculturalism of the city. We can see, however, his action misses his declaration” – Rita Tamošiūnienė pointed out.
Currently, the ministerial accreditation commission works in the Wł. Syrokomla High School. During the meeting with the representatives of the Ministry the issue of this school was discussed. Deputies wanted to know why more rigorous demands than in the case of other school are made towards “Syrkomlówka”, which seeks for the status of a school with Christian values. The Ministry admitted that such double standards should not exist.
Due to the reform a lot of schools, including non-Lithuanian ones and primarily in smaller cities, suffered. As an instance, Rita Tamošiūnienė gave the Gelvonai School in Szyrwincki area. This school did not get the approval for accreditation due to the insufficient number of students. The decision was made, according to which classes 11-12 will still study in Gelvonai but formally they will fall into the Musninkai Gimnasium (a secondary school). “It could happen that when the Musninkai school has too little students, it will ask students from Gelvonai for commuting to Musnikai, which is a distance of 20 km. What time will the children have to woke up and who will organise the access? It has not been mentioned. The Ministry proposes the licence of schools but the parliamentary Department of Law found some disagreement with the Constitution in the prepared project. There is possibility to postpone the reform of schooling till 2018. The new Minister secured that the problem of schools which did not make it to pass the accreditation process will be solved” – Rita Tamošiūnienė said to Wilnoteka.
The third topic discussed was the financing of schools. For a long time, it has been told that the current model, so-called ‘student’s basket’, is not effective in our times. There has been the new model of school financing compiled – “class’ basket”. The Ministry of Education is preparing after-statutory documents. Nevertheless, before it is enforced in the whole country, the pilot project will have been handled: few governments will start financing the school according to the new way, as the experiment. The Solecznicki’s government, among others, is to take part in the project. The officials of the Ministry described how the changes would look like and how the pilot project will be fulfilled.
As the deputy of thw AWPL informed the Wilnoteka, the talk was really constructive and kind. “The meeting left us feel positive. Both the Vice-Minister and the Minister, who has just started work in this role, have favourable attitude. They want to solve the problem of accreditation. It is known, however, that the responsibility was devolved from the government to the Ministry – and the other way round – not once. Now, it is all in the hands of the Ministry” – Rita Tamošiūnienė asserted.
Translated by Paulina Lipińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.