• March 24, 2016
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Benkunskas on Syrokomlówka: Ministry may change its mind

On Wednesday (23rd March) the Council of the Vilnius City Local Government approved the reorganisation plan concerning the network of Vilnius schools for the years 2016-2020. Headmasters of Polish schools, however, cannot comment on the endorsed plan, as they have not yet familiarised themselves with it.

 “We were told that it was just a project and some consultations would be held with the Polish community. For the time being, we don’t know much,” Danuta Sieliene, the Syrokomlówka headmaster, told zw.lt. “The council meeting was only yesterday and I haven’t seen the project yet, so I can’t comment,” added Edyta Zubel, the Lelewel School headmaster.

Syrokomlówka: a gimnazjum, long gimnazjum, or progimnazjum?

In accordance with the plan, the Władysław Syrokomla Secondary School is to be transformed into a “gimnazjum” if it has passed the accreditation process successfully until 31st August 2016.  In case of negative accreditation, the school will be converted into a primary one or “progimnazjum.”

 “Generally, there are three solutions. In accordance with the Act on Education, secondary schools can exist to 1st September 2017. The preferential option, which the Polish community demands as well, is the school’s transformation into a Catholic long gimnazjum. Then the instruction will be given from the 1st to 12th grade. However, in this case the Minister’s of Education accreditation is necessary. We’re going to talk with the Ministry. Representatives from the Ministry will have to come and assess the situation once more probably. […] It’s hard to forecast what the Ministry’s decision will be. Last year in the summer it didn’t grant the accreditation; however, it may change its mind too,” Deputy Mayor Valdas Benkunskas, who coordinates the education system in Vilnius, shared his thoughts with zw.lt.

 “In case the Ministry’s decision is negative, we’ll have two alternatives: either we’ll reorganise the school into a primary one or progimnazjum or transform it into a gimnazjum and progimnazjum under one roof. […] Then the instruction in the gimnazjum will be held under the general rules. Perhaps there will be more classes in Religious Instruction, but it depends on the school,” the Deputy Mayor pointed out. Presently, 826 students attend 36 classes in the Syrokomlówka.

The Lelewel Gimnazjum with the engineering specialisation

The Joachim Lelewel Secondary School is to have been converted into an engineering gimnazjum until 31st August 2017. If the school has not been granted the accreditation until the given date, it will be transformed into a progimnazjum or primary school. At present, 502 students attend the school, which has completed 21 classes.

The Lelewel School community is still feuding with the Vilnius local government, as the city authorities plan to relocate the Polish-Russian educational institution into the Antoni Wiwulski School building by the end of this year. The school community does not agree with this decision. “Deliberations are in progress. I don’t know when the decision will be made,” Edyta Zubel, the school headmaster, informed zw.lt.

Mickiewicz School and School in Liepkalnis

The city reform will affect the Mickiewicz Secondary School and School in Liepkalnis as well. Within the reorganisation plan, the Adam Mickiewicz Secondary School will be turned into a four-grade gimnazjum. The plan is due to be carried out until 31st August 2019. From 31st August 2016 on the 5th-grade classes will not be formed, from 2017 – classes from the 5th to 6th grade, from 2018 – ones from the 5th to 7th, and from 2019 – from the 5th to 8th. Currently, the school is attended by 556 students, with 23 classes having been completed.

The Polish-Russian School in Liepkalnis is to be united with the School in the city centre (Senamiesčio mokykla). At present, 230 students attend it; nineteen classes have been completed there.

In accordance with the new legislation, after the reform schools will be divided as follows:

Elementary school (1st-4th grade)
Primary school (1st-10th grade)
Progimnazjum (1st-8th grade)
Gimnazjum (9th-12th grade)
Currently, nine schools, which are attended by 3,658 pupils, function in Vilnius. Apart from that, there are three Polish-Russian-Lithuanian schools, in which 1,730 students learn, and five Polish-Russian ones, attended by 1,377.

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

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