- September 6, 2016
On Polish diaspora forum in Krynica- Polish schools in Lithuania
A meeting dedicated to Polish country politics towards Poles living abroad was first discussion panel of Polish Forum in Krynica-Zdrój. Among others, a lot of attention was dedicated to the issue of Polish education in Lithuania.
„The Polish diaspora and Poles living abroad are very various in terms of the data of leaving Poland, the data of moving the border. There are different cultures, languages and customs of countries in which our compatriots live. 20 mln of Poles abroad make a huge potential, not really used, and even according to some, not used at all. However, we do not want to use it, we want to build our community and work in favour of Poland”- said the Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski.
“If there was lack of something in Krynica, it was the voice of Poles living abroad, it is a place, where they could show themselves. This event is ground-breaking. We need well organized and active compatriots in order to build Polish power mutually”-noticed the chief of Polish Prime Minister Cabinet Adam Kwiatkowski. He emphasized that the prime minister Andrzej Duda, thanks to his activity – among others, significant attention devoted to Poles during his international visits – shows, how important are people living abroad for their country.
“We have duties towards Polish diaspora, towards Poles living in the East. Our compatriots issues are relevant objects of bilateral relations with Latvia, Belarus, and the Western countries, as well.” – said the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs RP Jan Dziedziczak.
„We really want to engage together in the most important things that we can do for Poland today- the defence of Polish good name, positive lobby in its interests- we are not able do to this by ourselves, we need to cooperate with Poles living abroad” –noticed Dziedziczak.
The panel’s participants headlined that one of the Polish diaspora’s most significant goals is education, teaching Polish language and passing on Polish nature to later generations.
The polish educational system struggles with various problems in different places in the world. According to the chairman of “Polish Community” Association Longin Komołowski, in the Western countries the teaching process takes place mainly in Saturday’s schools, where a big problem poses the level of teachers because very often the pedagogic activity it their second occupation, besides their professional work. It is also a big challenge to attract students to such schools.
„In contrast, the Eastern schools signal the need for Polish teachers. The key issue are the finances, remuneration on local standard, offered to such teachers are usually unacceptable. It is a problem that must be solved since without a decent knowledge of Polish language the prospect of building Polish community and bonds Poles with Poland are very poor”- said Komołowski.
According to Jan Dziedziczak, in relations with Vilnius, education is the issue which try good Polish-Lithuanian relations.
“When it comes Lithuania we often hear about the way of writing surnames and street names. These topics are important but not as important as education. We experienced a significant regression in this field. We are going to strongly headline these issues in bilateral relations, and work at the grass roots, at the same time”- emphasized Dziedziczak, reminding attendees about programme of support for Polish first-year pupils in Lithuania, initiated on Saturday in Vilnius.
Mikołaj Falkowski, a chairman of The Foundation “Aid to Poles in the East”, who together with minister Dziedziczak visited Vilnius Region a few days earlier, stressed that the Polish school strength-both in Lithuania and in other countries- depends on the level of teaching.
„In the long-term strategy, we have to put attention to the quality of teaching, then we could think about creating elites” –emphasized Falkowski.
The attendees were also talking about Polish government scholarship programme.
“We want to see Polish people in public life, in political life of their countries, in order to form elites. These young people, who we support giving scholarships, the most frequently stay here, they do not come back. I do not want to oppose scholarship system, but we have to be aware of this problem” –put attention Longin Komołowski
“Within the scope of activity for Polish diaspora we have in Poland schools of leaders. If we want to create elites, it must not be dreamed-up elites. It cannot be that we would train appointed, accidental people, would give them good political manners and we assume that they would become senators, politicians. Let’s adjust leaders trainings to organizations, which know whether a particular person bodes well, has got talents, which deserve being supported”- added Longin Komołowski
The panel participants, were also talking about protection of Polish heritage abroad, maintenance of national memory, strengthen polish culture and identity, and building attractive image of Poland.
“Poland is changing, Polish diaspora is changing and we have to adjust our activities to these changes. We want Polish diaspora to be active and we want to be active in relation with Polish diaspora”- summarized the Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski.
Translated by Aneta Banacka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.