• September 2, 2015
  • 269

Butkevičus: I do not understand why the students are encouraged to not go to school

Today, the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Butkevičus, stated that there will be no more reliefs  on the Lithuanian language exam for schools with non-Lithuanian teaching language. In this way the PM commented on today’s strike in Polish ethnic minority schools.

“I think of it as politicking and I do not understand the reasons of encouraging students to not go to school. I think that the Ministry of Education and Science should investigate and explain this situation. Because according to our information, the students from Polish schools have almost 40% bigger basket than students from Lithuanian schools”, said the PM to the journalists.

He underlined that the allowed exam reliefs are not violating the Constitution. “On the exam the Polish students can write a shorter essay and make more mistakes”.

Pitrėnienė: Adults encourage kids to not go to school

The Minister of Education, Audronė Pitrėnienė, said that she does not like the fact of using children for political games.

“I think that bringing children into such games is something negative. It is the beginning of September. We are talking about the quality of education. We have set ourselves a goal: there can be no single unjustified absence. Now we have a situation in which adults urge the students to not go to school. This is unacceptable in respect to children. Adults can do what they want: talk, strike, go or not go to work. But when I hear that they encourage children to not go to school saying that it is for their own good, it sounds bad”, the Minister underlined.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, stated that he hopes that the strike will not worsen the Polish-Lithuanian relations.

Poland’s reaction

The Minister of Education of Poland, Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, informed that she is preparing a letter to her counterpart in the Lithuanian government aimed at defending Polish ethnic minority schools in Lithuania.

“Today morning, Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska has contacted the representatives of the Polish minority by phone. Edyta Zubel, the director of the Joachim Lelewel Secondary School and Renata Cytacka from Parents Forum of Polish Schools in Lithuania (Forum Rodziców Szkół Polskich na Litwie) have informed the minister about the situation and why they are beginning a strike. The main argument is the discrimination of the Polish minority”, it was written in the Ministry’s statement.

Vice-marshal of the Polish government, Marek Kuchciński participated in today’s mass at the Gate of Dawn. “I came here from Poland in order to show the solidarity of the Polish parliamentarians with the Poles living and working in Lithuania for many generations. Currently they are having hard time because of the restrictions in Polish education on Lithuania”, he said to the journalists.

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

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