- May 10, 2019
Błaszkiewicz: I Would be in Favor of Closing Schools
“We must make sure that a school is good, but for now we have to ensure that there is any school,” stated in the “Znad Wilii” radio program “Dzień na dwa głosy”, Adam Błaszkiewicz, director of John Paul II Secondary School, which took 15th place in the ranking conducted by the magazine “Reitingai”.
John Paul II Secondary School achieved the highest position among Polish schools in Lithuania and was located on the 15th place in the ranking. In 94th place – the Secondary School in Pagiriai, which, although there are classes with Polish as the language of instruction, is a trilingual school. The Secondary School in Mickūnai moved up from 321st to 145th place. On the other hand, Adam Mickiewicz Secondary School in Vilnius dropped from the 72nd to 153rd place.
On the list of weak schools are, for instance, Secondary School in Grigiškės, Ludwik Narbutt Secondary School in Kalesninkai, Jan Śniadecki Secondary School in Šalčininkai, J. I. Kraszewski Secondary School in Vilnius, J. Lelewel School of Engineering in Vilnius, T. Konwicki Secondary School in Buivydžiai, St. U. Ledóchowska Secondary School in Juodšiliai, S. Moniuszko Secondary School in Kalveliai, St. Rafał Kalinowski Secondary School in Nemėžis.
“We do not have to glorify this or other rankings. But what we have to do is to analyze it carefully and then draw a conclusion. This is my first observation. The second one is that the education system in Lithuania hit rock bottom and is only getting worse. I think that I am not the only person who sees the situation this way. At the conference of educators in the Parliament, Vilija Targamadzė, also said that today we do not have any education system in Lithuania,” stated the headmaster of the secondary school.
“You have to look at the ranking with some caution. We were not that sad last year when we were at the 36th place, so now we should not be that glad about the 15th. We have to remember that there still are schools above the 15th place, where there are, for example, only two graduates. If one of them manages to pass a state exam and get 90 points then his school looks very presentable. However, it says nothing about the school, it only shows the abilities of this one particular student,” added Mr. Błaszkiewicz.
According to him, the problem relates not only to Polish education in Lithuania but also to schools in small towns. “If a school does not have the opportunity to hire a full-time teacher, the results are very bad. When we take a look at the map of Polish schools, we can see that most of them are in small towns. Such schools struggle with the problem of the lack of teachers. This ranking shows clearly that there are not enough teachers in Lithuania. Just look at the number of teachers that are needed only in a city such as Vilnius. However, it is claimed that the salary there is slightly higher than in the provinces. Schools are currently looking for about 140 teachers and this is a disaster,” said the headmaster of the Polish school.
Mr. Błaszkiewicz is convinced that we are still not talking enough about the quality of teaching. “I do not know how many parents get information on school levels based on research. I think that they usually hear about schools through the word of mouth. Then, they send their child to the school which in someone’s opinion is the best. It should be noted that we as a society, parents, and local government must make sure that this school is good. Currently we are trying to ensure the existence of such school. There is a point for a school to function if it offers a good quality of education and is, in general, a good school. Otherwise, it is simply useless. I would be in favor of closing schools and increasing the number of children in schools. If year after year various studies show that the results in larger schools are better, politicians should better listen to reason and not care about the 10% of secondary schools in Lithuania with Polish as the language of instruction. Let it be even 2%, but these must be schools of good quality. Only then people will be willing to send their children to Polish schools and get education in their native language,” he pointed out.
Mr. Błaszkiewicz is not convinced by the idea of the Lithuanian Ministry of Education of a so-called quality basket. 150 of the schools with the lowest results in Lithuania (including 10 with Polish as the language of instruction) could apply for additional funding under the project.
“Instead of investing in teachers, schools that may be in some cases mismanaged will get all the money. If I received additional $10,000, I would consider the supplementary training of the teacher from my school. However, if a teacher is not interested and knows better how to do their job, they will simply not benefit from it. As a result, the money will be unnecessarily spent,” noted Mr. Błaszkiewicz.
Translated by Karolina Antos within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.