- July 15, 2015
Demonstration in defense of ‘Lelewel’: We’re hoping they will hear us.
‘We hope the Council will come to its senses and will allow us to become the ‘prolonged junior high school’ – as the participants of today’s picket in defence of the J. Lelewel High School unanimously said in front of the central council.
Today the Council of Vilnius will decide about the future of 10 capital schools: whether they’ll be transformed into ‘prolonged junior high schools’ or reduced into primary schools. ‘Governing coalition wants to degrade the schools to the primary school’s level; the local community opposes the idea (…). The more when we have the amendment to the Law on Education and when the timespan for reorganization of schools into junior high schools is prolonged till 2017’ –as Renata Cytacka from the Parents Forum of Polish Schools in Lithuania explains the aim of the protest. ‘Today, Russian, Polish and Lithuanian schools want to protect their status. Today we’ll fight to the end’ – the councilor Romualda Poszewieckaja adds.
Teachers, students and social activists of the Polish minority in Lithuania came to the protest. In all, a few hundred people gathered. ‘The representatives of schools from other districts appeared at the demonstration. There are schools from Vilnius, Šalčininkai and Trakai District Municipalities with Polish and Russian language learning. There are also representatives of the school in Fabijoniškės – Cytacka emphasizes.
The representative of the Parent’s Forum pointed out that the AWPL group in central municipality will fight for Polish education. ‘Polish group prepared the following projects: considering the Act of 17th June as null and void, when 11-12 grades in J. Lelewel High School were eliminated as well as enabling these 10 schools to create 11-12 classes (in Vilnius, there are 10 schools with Lithuanian, Polish and Russian language learning that apply for accreditation – editor’s note). It was done so that the new amendment to the Law on Education comes into being and to enable Leszczyniaki district to become a junior high school’ – Cytacka explains.
As it is evident from the latest news, at the beginning of the assembly, the Council rejected the projects which were presented by the AWPL councilors. At the meeting, projects put forward by the majority of the coalition will be looked into.
School community doesn’t understand the reason of the Polish school’s removal from its building. ‘I like my school because it’s renovated and I feel really sorry that it is said: ‘We can’t give you the status of junior high school; however, when you move into the new building, we’ll enable you to become one’-as Albert Bogdanowicz, the student of 8th grade of J. Lelewel High School says to zw.lt. ‘I am glad that there are many of us. I hope that they will hear us today’ – the student of Fifth High School contributes.
It is vital to understand the situation of the next years’ graduates who have to find a new school quickly and pass the exam after a year (…). The action is not organized by politicians. This is not a politicians’ protest. As you can see, here are parents, children and teachers’ – AWPL’s councilor Edita Tamošiūnaitė explains to journalists.
We hope that the Council will come to its senses and will enable us to become a prolonged junior high school; that it’ll meet our expectations. The offer of moving to Żyrmunai is entirely unacceptable; it shows that all they care about is the edifice and not the students’ good. I graduated from the school myself, as did my parents; my children attend this school. My colleagues, who were going to the school with me, appeared today, though their children attend different schools. We fight together and we’ll win’ – Beata Bartoszewicz says.
Translated by Agnieszka Galek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.