- February 7, 2018
‘Macierz Szkolna’: The Prime Minister carefully listened to our arguments
The Prime Minister assured that satisfactory education of young people in Lithuania, including youth from national minority schools, is what he aims for – says the statement of The Polish Educational Society ‘Macierz Szkolna’. Representatives of ‘Macierz Szkolna’ managing board met the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Saulius Skvernels on Wednesday, February 7.
At the meeting, the representatives of ‘Macierz Szkolna’ presented the Prime Minister with “the most burning issues of Polish education in Lithuania”, such as teacher education, a unified Lithuanian language exam or the matter of textbooks.
“The Prime Minister carefully listened to our arguments and assured that satisfactory education of young people in Lithuania, including youth from national minority schools, is what he aims for. He agreed that teaching Lithuanian language to first and upper grades, especially in the matter of curricula, methodological aids and preparation of Lithuanian teachers, should be analyzed by hearing out parents, specialists and communities of national minorities. The Prime Minister described his position as flexible” – says the statement.
The principal of the John Paul II Gymnasium in Vilnius, Adam Błaszkiewicz, also attended the meeting and positively assessed it. However, he did not rule out the fact that the Prime Minister’s meeting with representatives of Polish education in Lithuania was a bit calculated, as it took place before the visit of President Andrzej Duda in Lithuania. “The meeting was very pleasant, we had a casual conversation. The prime minister was prepared, he came with his advisers. He agreed with some of the arguments and expressed his opinion about the others. He told about the government’s plans. What counts, however, is what will be done. We must wait for specific actions” – said Błaszkiewicz.
“My point is that the government should not forget about the fact that things need to be done” – added the principal of the Gymnasium. According to Błaszkiewicz, the criteria for the evaluation of the matriculation examination in Lithuanian are still a big problem.
The zw.lt editorial team unfortunately could not reach the government officials.
Józef Kwiatkowski met the Lithuanian Minister of Education Jurgita Petrauskienė on Tuesday. The President of ‘Macierz Szkolna’ informed zw.lt that it was decided to set up an expert group composed of Polonists and representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science. After thorough analysis, the specialists will decide whether to use textbooks imported from Poland in schools with Polish language of instruction in Lithuania.
“The minister agrees to import textbooks from 1st to 12th grade. Polonists will now take care of their selection, then an expert committee will be established and decide whether the textbooks should be used” – said Kwiatkowski.
The statement of ‘Macierz Szkolna’:
On February 7, 2018 a meeting of the administration of the Association of Teachers of Polish Schools in Lithuania ‘Macierz Szkolna’ with the Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis was held in the government building. The administration was represented by Józef Kwiatkowski – the chairman of ‘Macierz Szkolna’, Jadwiga Sinkiewicz – the president of the Šatčininkai department of ‘Macierz Szkolna’, the vice mayor of the Šalčininkai district, Adam Błaszkiewicz – the principal of the John Paul II Gymnasium in Vilnius, Tadeusz Grygorowicz – the principal of the K. Parczewski Gymnasium in Nemenčinė and Krystyna Dzierżyńska – the vice-president of ‘Macierz Szkolna’.
The prime minister was presented with the most urgent problems of Polish education in Lithuania:
- education of teachers in Polish schools in Lithuania, in particular primary school teachers and Polonists with the possibility of educating teachers with dual-specialization;
- restoration of the compulsory Polish language exam in the matriculation examination, including its assessment when applying for studies financed by the state;
- the issue of a unified matriculation examination in Lithuanian language, as according to the research the results after 2013 have been declining, which have a direct impact on applying to studies financed by the state;
- the necessity of preparing separate programs and scientific aids;
- the use of a separate teaching methodology and the necessity of preparing teachers to teach Lithuanian as a native and non-native language;
- the supply of textbooks for teaching Polish in grades 1-12. Due to the lack of objective ways to write textbooks in Lithuania, it was proposed to import Polish textbooks and after approval by the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science to use them in schools, which will also affect the linguistic correctness of young people;
- the necessity of increasing funds for the purchase of scientific aids and textbooks for Polish schools;
- 5% refund of funds to the pupil’s basket collected during the crisis.
All these problems along with solution proposals have also been presented in writing and handed over to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister carefully listened to our arguments and assured that satisfactory education of young people in Lithuania, including youth from national minority schools, is what he aims for. He agreed that teaching Lithuanian language to first and upper grades, especially in the matter of curricula, methodological aids and preparation of Lithuanian teachers, should be analyzed by hearing out parents, specialists and communities of national minorities. The Prime Minister described his position as flexible.
In the matter of subsidizing textbooks and scientific aids, the Prime Minister drew the attention of advisers to the necessity of refining the amount of funds allocated for this purpose, which would be done by the Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuania.
He also initially accepted the proposal to use Polish textbooks imported from Poland for grades 1-12, although he stressed that the expert committee should evaluate their content.
Regarding the education of the staff, the Prime Minister did not agree with the proposal to prepare the pedagogical staff of Polonists and primary school teachers, including teachers of 2-3 specializations at the Vilnius office branch of the University of Vytautas Magnus in Kaunas.
Translated by Katarzyna Kądziołka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.