- September 2, 2015
Butkevičus: I do not understand why students are persuaded not to attend school
There will be no more concessions for schools with a non-Lithuanian language of instruction during the Lithuanian language exam, announced today Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičus. In this way the Prime Minister commented on today’s strike in Polish schools.
“I view it as politicking and I do not understand the reasons why students are encouraged not to attend school. I think that the Ministry of Education and Science should examine and explain this issue. According to our information, students who attend Polish schools have around 40% bigger “basket” [translator’s note: the amount of money spent by the state on a student] than those who learn in Lithuanian schools”– the Prime Minister told reporters.
The Prime Minister underlined that the permitted concessions during the exam are unconstitutional in Lithuania. “During the exam, they may write shorter essays and they may make more mistakes” – noted Butkevičus.
Pitrėnienė: Adults persuade children not to attend school
Audronė Pitrėnienė, the Minister of Education, said that she does not like the fact of involving children in political games.
“I think that getting children involved in it is something negative. It is the beginning of September. We talk about the quality of education. We set ourselves a goal: there can be no unexcused absences. Now we are dealing with a situation when adults persuade students not to attend school. This is unacceptable in regard to the children. Adults can do whatever they want: they can talk, they can strike, they can go to work or not. But when I hear that adults encourage children not to attend school and they do it for their own good, it sounds wrong” – emphasized the Minister.
In contrast, Linas Linkevičius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that he hopes that the strike will not worsen the Polish-Lithuanian relations.
Reaction of Poland
Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, the Minister of Education of the Republic of Poland, informed that she is writing a letter to her counterpart in the Lithuanian government for the defense of Polish schools in Lithuania.
“This morning, Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska spoke on the phone with the representatives of Polish minority. Her interlocutors – Edyta Zubel, the principal of the Joachim Lelewel High School in Vilnius, and Renata Cytacka from the Forum of Parents from the Polish Schools in Lithuania, informed her about the situation of Polish schools and the reasons why they go on strike. As they emphasized, it is all about the discrimination against the Polish minority” – says the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Poland in a written statement.
Marek Kuchciński, Deputy Marshal of the Republic of Poland, attended today’s holy mass at the Gate of Dawn. “I came here from Poland to express solidarity on the behalf of the Polish government with Poles who have been working and living in Lithuania for many generations. They are currently going through a difficult period in view of the limitations in Polish education in Lithuania” – the Deputy Marshal told reporters.
Translated by Diana Dymel within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.