• October 21, 2019
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Finally here! New Polish textbooks have arrived in Vilnius

Textbooks for students of Polish schools have arrived in Lithuania. – We talked about this problem for years, but we couldn’t find a solution. We were like in a dark tunnel, from which we finally managed to find a way out – said to zw.lt Józef Kwiatkowski, president of the Association of Polish School Teachers in Lithuania ‘Macierz Szkolna’.

The issue of poor quality textbooks has long been referred to as one of the important problems of Polish schools in Lithuania.

– It was an enormous challenge. We know perfectly well that here in Lithuania we do not have enough possibilities to create our own textbooks on an ongoing basis, that would be compatible with the modern times. This is why I tried to make it possible for us to import textbooks for learning the mother tongue from Poland – Kwiatkowski explained.

As the president of ‘Macierz Szkolna’ emphasized, the purchase was possible thanks to a new legal regulation introduced by the Ministry of Education of Lithuania, which enabled national minority schools to buy native language textbooks published in European Union countries and thanks to a considerable financial effort of the Polish schools.

– Schools finance the purchase of these textbooks from their own resources. I am very happy that everyone agreed that we need them. My guess is that collecting money for new books at that time was not easy, although I must admit that the price we were offered by the Gdańsk Educational Publishing House was very affordable –  Kwiatkowski said.

As the president of ‘Macierz Szkolna’ explained, new textbooks may reach students tomorrow. For now, they will serve Polish language classes for grades 4-10. It will not be a textbook adapted to the Lithuanian programme, but a textbook used by students in Poland. We are still to wait for textbooks adapted for the initial classes.

How do teachers evaluate the new textbooks? – This is a very big step forward. New textbooks may not fully meet the needs of our programme, but it is definitely better to have a choice, more texts and exercises, than to work based on outdated materials that are not interesting for the student, because they do not keep up with his needs – says Alicja Rosowska, a Polish-language teacher from the Primary School in Kyviškės.

The Polish teacher notes that the textbooks that are currently in use do not correspond 100% with the programme requirements either. – Some are too old and therefore do not cover relevant topics, others do not have enough grammar exercises. I think there are no teachers that would limit themselves to textbooks only, everyone looks for extra materials on their own anyway. Now, when we have additional textbooks from Poland, our work will definitely be easier – says Rosowska.

She emphasizes that Polish textbooks are much better than those published in Lithuania. – They are more interesting, there are more new texts on current topics that interest children and young people. It is natural, because the Polish market is much larger than the Lithuanian one, especially if we are talking about textbooks in Polish. The publishers compete with each other, constantly improving something. The group of potential authors is also much larger – emphasizes the Polish teacher.

The issue of textbooks was also discussed as part of the Polish-Lithuanian meetings of politicians and government representatives. In the media, the problem of poor quality textbooks was first brought to the attention of the website zw.lt. More about this in the texts:

Polish children in Lithuania learn from textbooks full of errors

We’ll have the textbook! But not the right one and not in September

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

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