- March 18, 2016
Parliamentary Committees Appeal to the Government in Reference to Polish Schools in Lithuania
In a desideratum accepted on Friday, the Parliamentary Committees appealed to the Government to take further measures towards helping Polish schools in Lithuania. It was highlighted that Vilnius authorities still introduce actions which may lead to the liquidation of the schools with Polish language.
“The committees appeal to the Council of Ministers to intensify all the actions which aim to protect Polish schools in Vilnius which are at risk. They also aim to stop further degradation of Polish education in Lithuania, and, for the Lithuanian authorities to begin real dialoguing based on partnership with the parents of the children, who attend schools mentioned in the desideratum, and with the social educational organizations” we read in the desideratum.
The desideratum was unanimously accepted during the mutual meeting of the Parliamentary Committees including the Committee of Liaisons with the Poles Abroad, the Committee of Foreign Affairs and the Committee of Education, Science and Youth.
The committees expressed “genuine concern” about the actions of the Vilnius local government towards schools with Polish language. According to the committees, such actions violate the provisions of the treaty between Poland and Lithuania about friendly relationship and neighborly partnership. It also drastically departs from European standards in case of the treatment of national minorities. It was added that “nowadays, such actions cause the limitations of Polish language education in Vilnius and there is a risk of its liquidation in the near future.”
As it was pointed out, local government uses the so called accreditation of the schools, which gives a school the right to teach 11th and 12th grade and to prepare students to the matura exams. It was added that “not granting a school such a status means serious issues with the admissions because the parents are not interested in enrolling their children at the school which does not guarantee the continuity of education.”
According to the desideratum this could mean the liquidation of the school in a few years time. This issue concerns four schools in Vilnius and these are: the school of Joachim Lelewel, the school in Leszczyniaki, the school of Szymon Konarski, and the school of Władysław Syrkomla
As it was emphasized in the desideratum “despite the movement of the deadline to 2017, to achieve accreditation, and many repeated, and long-lasting protests of the parents and children, Vilnius local authorities still deny any dialogue. However, they also take actions, which are unfavorable from the point of view of Polish schools.”
As we read, local government in Vilnius recently decided on merging the elementary school in Lipówka with the Russian school. It was highlighted that this move will worsen the admission and with time it could lead to the liquidation of the school.
On the 2nd of September 2015, in the protest against the Lithuanian education policy, there was a strike, and on the 16th of October several thousand of people organized a mass meeting outside the Government residence.
At the end of 2015 the representatives of Polish minority in Lithuania appealed to Polish authorities for the protection of schools in Lithuania.
Translated by Marta Didyk within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.