• April 25, 2017
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Lelewel School got junior high school status

Vilnius City Council granted the Joachim Lelewel school in Vilnius junior high school status.

The facility has been awarded the status of a long junior high school in which science is taught from grades 1 to 12. Since September, the school has implemented an engineering education profile. As reported by the Vilnius local government, now at the School of Engineering of the J. Lelewel are taught 464 students: 326 in Polish, 140 in Russian.

On the Tuesday vote of the members of the Electoral Action of the Poles in Lithuania, the Association of Christian Families stated that they were in favour of giving the school the status of  the junior high school, but they would still demand a return to the old building on Antokolska Street.

Reorganized School of Engineering of. J. Lelewel has been transferred to the building from Minties 3 Street in Vilnius, and in the former school seat at Antakalnio 33 Street is another school – Antoinska Pro junior high school.

The school started work in a renovated building in Żyrmunach (where Antoni Wiwulski’s branch of the school had been working so far) a month later than the local government announced in October 2016. Local government has invested in the repair of 2.3 million euros. Still, the school is lacking a lecture hall, and the sports hall is too small for the needs of the students.

In 2016, 328 students of the Secondary School were studying in the Antokol school building. Joachim Lelewel (the school can accommodate 800 people). At Minties Street (Antoni Wiwulski Branch) 127 students were studying while the building was designed for 452.

Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Pro junior high school on Antokol was partially separated by a building from the junior high school in Antokol, whose building is settled on 800 students, and partly with Lelewel’s school. According to representatives of the Pro junior high school community in Antokol, the situation was proof that “everyone is equal, but some are equal than others.”

Afterwards, part of the school community of Joachim Lelewel believes that the decision of the local government was aware of the liquidation of Polish education on Antokol. They demand the return of all students to the building on Antokol. “The decision of the city government, the liberal-conservative coalition, on the expulsion of the. J. Lelewel from Antokol to Zyrmun is a scandalous decision and contradicts one of the basic assumptions of school reform, which is to optimize the placement of schools. These actions are unlawful and outrageous towards the Polish and Russian communities inhabiting the huge Vilnius district of Antokol, “- was written in October in a statement signed by Krystyna Adamowicz, Association of graduates,” Always faithful Five “, Renata Cytacka, Danuta Narbut, President of the Vilnius Forum of Polish Parents, Beata Bartoszewicz, Chairwoman of the School Defense Committee.

In February, the Supreme Administrative Court annulled the decision of the Vilnius City Council in 2015 to reorganize the school, but the local government maintains that the ruling does not automatically eliminate the reorganization provisions and does not allow for a return to the previous situation.

In March the school board published an open letter stating its position on the move to Minties Street.

“We all agree and we are proud to be part of a school that is so important to the history of the city, and we would like to end up with the proverbial” holy peace “because the most important goal of the school is to provide and transfer knowledge and skills to children and young people and to prepare them for life in the modern world. For this case there is chosen a teacher and not the building in which this education takes place. We cannot afford to regret infinitely over the source of our problems, which is a painful for us in the consequences of educational reform, which explains in part the declining number of Polish children, especially when the real source of our problems goes far back. It would be ridiculous to require the Lithuanian side to take care of the interests of the Polish community if Poles and its representatives do not do it, and sometimes the Poles and its representatives are even very damaging. So we are very concerned that the “school wall defenders” are doing everything they can to give the children another move, which in turn will lead to the dissolution of the School of Engineering of Joachim Lelewel (or maybe someone wants that?). Covering the argument of the “historic building” at Antokolska 33 (built by the Soviets in Soviet times), “defenders” are preparing another portion of the lies of the Polish community both here and in the motherland ” written in the letter.

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

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