- July 15, 2015
The bulldozer of the conservatives and the liberals vs. minority schools
As we have mentioned, today there was a meeting of the local government in Vilnius, on which the draft projects, which are unfavourable for national minority schools (Polish and Russian; operating in the capital) were considered.
As a result of active participation of the AWPL councillors, they managed to win in the battle for the Lelewel High School in Vilnius: council cancelled its resolution from last month ago, which had established the banning of class 11-12 completing school. In addition, the council postponed for one year the enforcement of the document considering the school’s future. It means that in the upcoming school year the facility will be able to assemble classes 11-12 and it has a year to maintain the status quo. One year – according to the resolution adopted today, such time has the school to teach in the existing conditions and in its historic building.
Life goes fast and the Polish community is very determined to win so this 12 months can change a lot. It became possible to appeal council’s resolution adopted a month ago, unfavourable for this school.
AWPL in the council of Vilnius managed to persuade councillors not to vote for harmful projects, so the conservative-liberal coalition’s bulldozer failed to push destructive legislative on other schools.
Another success of the national minorities school communities as well as the AWPL is that they have managed to postpone for a month the enforcement of council resolutions, according to which in the upcoming school year, 8 minority schools (3 Polish and 5 Russian) would hear the banning of completing classes 11-12. The next session of the Vilnius government council will be held next month – at the end of August.
As we mentioned, today at the Europe Square, in front of the Vilnius city government, there was a picket in defence of the national minorities education in Lithuania. It brought together nearly 600 people – not just the community of 10 endangered schools in Vilnius, but those from the whole Vilnius region that have already been successfully accredited as secondary schools. Today, not only the representatives of Polish and Russian schools, but also the Lithuanian community from Fabianiszki Secondary School gathered in front of the local government building. They came since they want to support the representatives of endangered schools in this difficult time. They came because they sympathise with them and want to cheer them on.
National minorities, including Poles have over a month to change the situation, which ultimately could turn the tables on them.
Although the ruling coalition in the capital has 35 councillors, it failed to push through negative for minorities acts.. To adopt such resolutions it lacked 1 vote.
National minorities are determined to fight for their education: they participate in the Masses for preserving the network of Polish and Russian schools as well as they arrive multitudinously at the pickets in defence of educational institutions teaching children in their mother tongue.
It is not easy to win when the forces are unfair, but there were situations in history where the spirit of the nation turned out to be stronger than the enemy’s resources.
Poles believe that they will win the battle for their schools – the condition of their survival in Lithuania.
Translated by Paulina Lipińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.