• February 27, 2018
  • 338

Department of education and national minorities: Textbooks’ quality must be improved

Textbooks for mother-tongue teaching in schools of national minorities are in a deplorable state – the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science were unanimous as well as Polish and Russian schools.

On Tuesday (27 February), a meeting of representatives of the Polish and Russian minorities with Deputy Minister of Education and Science Gražvydas Kazakevičius took place at the Ministry of Education and Science in Vilnius. The meeting regarded the quality of textbooks, which students of Polish and Russian schools learn from.

The meeting was attended by, among others President of the Association of Polish School Teachers in Lithuania “Macierz Szkolna” Józef Kwiatkowski, Vice President of “Macierz” Krystyna Dzierżyńska, first-class teacher Marzena Grydź and Polish language teacher Danuta Korkus. The Russian side was represented by the President of the Association of Russian Schools in Lithuania, Ela Kanaitė, and a representative of the Lithuanian Union of Russians, Łaris Dmitrejewa. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Polish Debate Club (PKD), who at the end of January presented to the Ministry of Education a draft amendment to Regulation No. V-2310 of 30 November 2011, enabling getting textbooks to learn the mother tongue of national minorities from abroad. PKD was represented by the organization’s President, Ewelina Mokrzecka.

During the meeting, the Undersecretary of Education and Science admitted that textbooks for mother tongue teaching for Poles and Russians are in a deplorable state, both “phisically and morally.”

Representatives of educational institutions reminded that textbooks for mother tongue teaching of national minorities have not been published in Lithuania since a few to a dozen or so years (although they should be formally changed every four years). The Undersecretary justified this by so-called the student’s basket, which is not sufficient for national minority schools.

Józef Kwiatkowski once again came up with the proposal to bring textbooks from Poland, which – as he noted – would reduce the waiting time for the publication of textbooks in Lithuania.

During the meeting, it was decided to set up an expert group composed of Polish philologists. Teachers will assess the quality and content of Polish textbooks, and then present them to the experts at the Ministry of Education and Science.

Ewelina Mokrzecka pointed out, however, that the first step in replacing obsolete textbooks should be not the creation of working groups, but the change in the regulations of the Minister of Education and Science, which currently prevent the import of textbooks from Poland, postulated by the PKD. Otherwise, the case can be dragged in time and stuck in place.

The issue of the state of textbooks for learning Polish was discussed in the article entitled “Polish children in Lithuania learn from textbooks full of errors”, where teachers and principles of Polish schools in Vilnius sensitized to the editors of this issue. The textbooks for learning Polish language are over a dozen years old and their circulation has been exhausted. The first book, which goes back to the first, or the primer “Magic Letters” written by Marzena Grydz, was released in 2004.

On this subject, the Polish Discussion Club organized a discussion entitled: “Discussion about textbooks in PKD: You can not give in”. Speakers of the meeting were, among others Head of the Center for Polish Language, Culture and Didactics at the Lithuanian University of Education Henryka Sokołowska, Danuta Szejnicka from the Center for Education Development, editor at the Warsaw University publishing house Kaja Kojder and President of the Polish Educational Society (Macierz Szkolna) Józef Kwiatkowski. Teachers of Polish schools in Lithuania came, who also took in discussions came as well. Everyone agreed that the problem exists, and taking immediate action is necessary.

Gražvydas Kazakevičius Fot. BNS/Žygimantas Gedvila

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

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