• August 9, 2019
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We’ll have the textbook! But not the right one and not in September

The media, including those in Poland, have trumpeted success – in September the first Polish schools in Lithuania will receive an adapted textbook for learning their native language, which was created in cooperation with Polish and Lithuanian experts. Meanwhile, it turns out that the textbook is almost a mythical creation – everyone knows it should be there, but hardly anyone saw it, and due to many formal procedures at September deadline, there is nothing to dream about.

“I saw the adapted textbook ready in January. Now, however, formalities regarding fees have been extended. Since the handbook is imported from abroad, a tender and other procedures are required. After completing the formalities, the textbook will go to print,” says Józef Kwiatkowski in an interview with zw.lt.. He adds that the possible date of delivery of the manual is November.

It is true that those involved in the creation of the textbook say something different. Apparently, in December 2018, the adaptation scope of the textbook was prepared. It was a very detailed description – page by page the notes, tips on adapting the content and form of the textbook to the Lithuanian socio-cultural context were exchanged. However, the work went no further. Creating a textbook means choosing materials, preparing, editing and submitting for evaluation. Behind the scenes, you can hear that these activities did not take place.

In addition, despite the joyfully announced cooperation between the ministry – experts – national minority schools, in fact, each party says something different. Apparently, practitioners who directly took part in consultations on the emerging textbook, were surprised by the bold declarations of politicians, which were made, for example, in May this year during the ceremonial opening of Polish studies at the University of Vytautas the Great.

“We expect that from September, there will be a first-class textbook in Polish schools in Lithuania,” assured journalists Rafał Grupińsk, and chairman of the Education, Science and Youth Committee of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, who was in Lithuania with the delegation.

“We also talked to ensure that modern textbooks for Polish children were regularly published in subsequent years for the following classes. We also referred to the issue that funding is to be continued every year. And in this matter, we have open communication with the minister.. So I think we’re on the right track,” said Grupiński.

Similar theses are confirmed today by Józef Kwiatkowski, who says that Minister Algirdas Monkevičius has at least made a verbal promise that every year the textbook will be adapted for subsequent entry classes. “And maybe even within one year two textbooks will be adapted, but it is difficult to forecast,” says Kwiatkowski optimistically.

Meanwhile, experts describe the work on creating the textbook as “a step forward, ten backwards”.

Before the first textbook for first grades is created (or not ?!), the Ministry of Education and Macierz Szkolna have developed an ad hoc measure for grades 4-9, which also lack good quality textbooks. Macierz Szkolna recommends that Polish schools purchase new, recently issued Polish language textbooks, which the Ministry allows for temporary use – without verification procedures. teaching aids for learning a native language for a transitional period,” explains Józef Kwiatkowski.

Schools have received forms in which they should indicate how many textbooks they order, pay, and within 5-10 days new textbooks will arrive in Lithuania. According to Kwiatkowski, many schools have already placed orders, and books should arrive before the start of the school year.

However, not everyone is convinced of this solution. “Indeed, those from grade five and above are more disadvantaged than the first grades. This is where we need textbooks the most. However, it is difficult to buy a pig in a poke, no one has really seen a single copy. We planned to buy books earlier and ordered something different. After returning from holidays, we intend to organize at least a working group meeting, maybe search the textbook on the Internet to see what it looks like. We asked for the textbooks that suit the program best, but it is difficult for me to say something because I have not seen the textbook,” says the headmaster of the Junior High School John Paul II in Vilnius.

“We’ve worked for so many years and textbooks from grades 5, 6, 7, 8 were useless, we’ll be fine for another year. We would really like to take every textbook, from the first to the eighth grade, to review it in detail. Parents should also have such an opportunity,” adds Wysocka.

The Polish Press Agency announced on Thursday that the Lithuanian Government has allocated 100,000 euros for the purchase of textbooks from Poland and their adaptation.

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

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