• July 18, 2017
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Deputy Minister: Breaking the recruitment into Polish studies is a decision of the university

“Recruitmentfor this course was interrupted by the university’s decision,” said Deputy Minister of Education and Science Giedrius Viliūnas in talks with the Radical Council of Trustees. On Monday it was announced that on July 14th, a recruitment for Polish studies at the Lithuanian University of Education was canceled. The staff of the Polonist Center say that this was a complete surprise for them, the administration of the university explains that the direction was not interesting.

“According to the usual mode, recruitment is taking place until July 19th, and it is not until later that there is an appropriate number of students. In this case on 14th July the university decided to remove some of the directions from the list. We checked data for how many candidates were in that time. As it turned out, this program of study was run by one person who chose him as the first on the list of priorities. Obviously, it was not possible to gather enough students, “argues in an interview with the radio station Kadir of Vilnius Giedrius Viliūnas.

The question of interruption of recruitment for Polish studies was not available to representatives of the Lithuanian University of Education. The university communication department sent a written response.

“Since no state funding has been allocated for the parallel preparation of teachers for the subject this year, and a lower threshold has been set for people enrolled for first-cycle studies at state universities (for pedagogical programs – 15)” (Minister of Education and Science, 9th No. V-344), paid study places were not popular among candidates. For example, Polish philology has chosen only two candidates, “we read in response.

Meanwhile, the director of the Center for Polish Language and Culture of the Polish University of Education, Henryka Sokołowska, said that for the staff of the Polish language the decision was a complete surprise. They only learned about it on Monday.

“We are still surprised, even by the way it was done. People who knew that applications can be submitted by July 19th, not to 14th, are called by the students. Only then do students know what their ratings are and only now decide where to enroll. The people who wanted to register called me on Saturday, they could not do it on LAMA. I did not know what to say, if I knew of that decision, which was already the case then, I would just inform. We promised, we encouraged, not knowing that we just lie to people “- does not hide the disappointment of Henryka Sokołowska.

So far, students who got paid for Polish studies at the Lithuanian University of Education were guaranteed the costs of studies by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius during their first year of study. The following years of studies were financed by the Foundation “Helping Poles in the East”.

In spite of the situation, officials and politicians argue that they care about preserving Lithuanian Polish literature.

Polish studies in Lithuania without any doubt should exist. This is very important because some Polish citizens speak in Polish. Polish is the language of Lithuanian culture, the cultural heritage of Lithuania, the language of history, and no doubt Polish studies should be developed. Another question is whether it is at the University of Education. This is a more complicated issue as there is currently an optimization of the network of higher education institutions in Lithuania and the Lithuanian University of Education is not in this plan. This university will most likely be affiliated with the University of Witold Wielki, some may join the University of Vilnius, so it is possible to predict that next year recruitment for the Polish language will take place under another name, “- says Deputy Minister of Education and Science Giedrius Viliūnas.

On the merger of universities, he also spoke in the radio interview with Ksie Wilia, also the vice-chair of the Sejm Committee for Education and Science Mantas Adomėnas.

“In the face of a small number of students, the merger of the Polish-Polish University of Education and the Vilnius University of Education would be a sensible route. Undoubtedly, Polish studies must survive. This is important for our history, our culture, for many centuries it is part of our identity, and for Polish-speaking Lithuanians a way of self-awareness. The state should support both the preparation of teachers and scientists, the translators who would make Polish literature known in Lithuania and Lithuanian in Poland, “declared Adomėnas in May.

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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