- November 21, 2019
Polish-Lithuanian declaration on education of national minorities
The declaration on education of the Polish national minority in the Republic of Lithuania and the Lithuanian national minority in Poland was signed on Wednesday, November 20 in Warsaw by the Minister of National Education Dariusz Piontkowski and the Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania Algirdas Monkevičius.
“Poland and Lithuania are members of the European Union. We undertake joint activities in the political and economic sphere. We are strategic partners here and we would also like Poland and the Republic of Lithuania to become such partners in education, “said Polish minister Dariusz Piontkowski to journalists after signing the declaration.
He informed that the Polish-Lithuanian team had been working on the text of the declaration for several months. He noted that the parties tried to include in it both the postulates of the Polish minority living in Lithuania and the Lithuanian minority living in Poland.
“The result of this is an agreement that talks about the cooperation of the Lithuanian government and the Polish government in matters of education so as to solve problems and matters related to the education of the Polish minority in Lithuania and the Lithuanian in Poland. A certain novelty is that we set a specific date for preparing the schedule of activities that will implement the provisions of this declaration. We anticipate that in March next year we will be able to meet in Vilnius and sign a specific schedule of activities that will lead to the implementation of the declaration, “said the head of the Ministry of National Education.
He noted that some of the entries in the declaration are already being implemented. “We are talking here about the operation of examination boards: Polish and Lithuanian. I hope that this will translate into even closer cooperation, even in the translation of matura exam tests, not only in Poland but also in Lithuania. We hope that this declaration, jointly signed with the minister, will also lead to good relations in this field, and this meeting in Vilnius will show a schedule of activities that in the next several months will cause that Polish education in Lithuania will be treated similarly to Lithuanian education in Poland ” – pointed out Piontkowski.
Minister Algirdas Monkevičius thanked all the people who worked on the content of the declaration. He also pointed out the setting of a three-month preparatory period. “We will follow it until March,” he noted.
As regards the conditions of educating the Polish minority students under the Lithuanian education system and representatives of the Lithuanian minority under the Polish education system, in the signed declaration the parties undertook to systematically monitor the quality of education of the Polish national minority in Lithuania and increase the quality of education of the Lithuanian national minority in Poland.
According to the declaration, i.a. analysis of possible ways of organizing the Matura exam in Polish as a native language at the state level in Lithuania and passing the exam result at the entrance to universities. Cooperation between Polish and Lithuanian institutions responsible for organizing state exams will be strengthened. The Lithuanian side has also committed to providing native language textbooks for students of schools with the Polish language of instruction. As part of the cooperation of relevant institutions of Lithuania and Poland, teacher training will be organized.
The declaration was drawn up in duplicate, each in Lithuanian and Polish, with both texts being equally authentic. The declaration enters into force on the day of signing.
Translated by Oskar Pytka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.