• August 29, 2017
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Czesław Okińczyc: New school year and new optimism

This year’s school year begins with more optimistic atmosphere than usually. Problems that have been growing for the next few years were able to be solved or at least get better.

Few weeks before the beginning of school year Vilnius municipality decided that two polish schools have a chance to become the primary and middle school: Adam Mickiewicz Middle school and Szymon Konarski Primary school.

Information about stopping the philology faculty enrollment in Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences has appeared suddenly few weeks ago.

Polish society (workers, students), politicians from Electoral Action of Poles, social activists, media in Lithuania managed to keep the faculty. Polish studies in Lithuanian University of Political Sciences were established in 1961 and since then it has been preparing teachers to teach in polish schools in Lithuania. It went through better and worse times, but it is hard to imagine lithuanian education without polish philology.

Attitude of lithuanian political elites seems to be changing too, in subject of spelling polish names and surnames. It is beginning to be understood that it is not only a problem in Lithuanian-Polish relations, but also the comfort of Lithuanian citizens. Authorities must take care of wishes of all citizens and be delicate when it comes to national minorities, in particular.

It all lets Poles in Lithuania have faith in future, but also shows how important it is to discuss about how to keep Polisheness in Lithuania today and in the future.

On occasion of new school and academic year 2017/2018 I wanted to wish teachers and education staff all the best, peaceful and satisfying work.

I wish that gained knowledge opens the door to further achievements in life, and that school is not only a place where you come with pleasure, but also a place where you learn to love Poland and homeland – Lithuania, all of our students and especially those who begin their educational journey this year. I wish you proudness of your own achievements.

To all parents of our students, I wish you patience and consequence in raising up young generation of Poles in Lithuania and experiencing new achievements of your kids.

Czesław Okińczyc

Signatory of the Act of Lithuania’s Independence

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania

Member of Lithuanian University council

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

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