• November 30, 2021
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Compulsory ‘Matura exam’ from Polish language comes back

Sidenote from translator: Matura is a Latin name for the high school exit exam or “maturity diploma” in various European countries, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
It is taken by young adults (usually aged from 17 to 20) at the end of their secondary education, and generally must be passed in order to apply to a university or other institutions of higher education. Matura is a matriculation examination and can be compared to A-Level exams, the Abitur or the Baccalauréat.

Matura exam – shortly “Matura” – from Polish language is to become a state examination. Corresponding decision has already been made by Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Lithuanian Minister of Education, Science and Sports. So far Lithuanian authorities had only promised to take Polish postulate into account. Currently signed ordinance is the first written declaration on the subject. Deadline on the introduction of a state exam from mother tongue will be agreed with Polish educational community in Lithuania.

Fundamental and good information we had heard is the fact that Lithuanian Minister of Education signed an ordinance, according to which Polish language will become the subject of compulsory matura exam. The decision is made. Matura in Polish is to be a compulsory matura examination. It is a foregone issue. This is very important, because until now there was no written declaration confirmed by the concrete decision said to journalists Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Friday, after consultation of Polish and Lithuanian ministries which took place in Vilnius.

For the time being, date of implementation of state examination in Polish remains unsettled. The issue is to be discussed with Polish educational community in Lithuania. “There are still questions about compulsory matura’s date of implementation. Our postulate is for the matura to be implemented as soon as possible within the Lithuanian legal system. We had a long discussion about when would that be really possible. We made certain desirable arrangements, which is why I am meeting today with a number of Polish cirles, as well as Lithuanian side that is to consult Poles living in Lithuania whether these solutions are satisfactory for them. To be honest, whether they are satisfactory both in terms of the date being not too distant, as well as not too early, preventing students from preparing. Because this issue was also discussed” noted Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.

In the year 1998 maturity exam in Polish was relegated to status of optional school exam, which contributed to worsening of mother tongue’s level of teaching in Polish schools in Lithuania. For over 20 years Poles in Lithuania have demanded restoration of matura exam in Polish as a compulsory examination.

We are after long, intense conversation. We presented our postulates concerning the return of obligatory matura exam in Polish for students of Polish schools. I make no secret of the fact that along with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, we are satisfied with end results. Together with Lithuanian side, we have arranged to discuss the negotiated issue in the first place with those most interested, that is, Polish educational communities in Lithuania. We are very pleased with these talks’ conclusion said Tomasz Rzymkowski, Polish Deputy Minister of National Education.

Nowadays high school graduates of Polish schools in Lithuania can only take a regular school exam in Polish (basic level). During the enrollment in higher education, state exam’s score is twice as high as school’s one. School exam in Polish was not taken into account during university enrollment.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Lithuania informed that the decision signed by Minister Šiugždinienė brings back mother tongue compulsory exam also in other schools of national minorities, and regulation of the exam is already included in guidelines for general programs update.

“The issue of mother tongue state examination was raised more than once by representatives of national minorities; such commitment has also been included in bilateral plan of Ministry of Poland and Ministry of Lithuania’s actions concerning education. Now, when Lithuania renews its curricula, similar projects of curricula in Polish were also prepared and given to public. Renew curricula in national minorities’ languages will be a foothold for pupils preparing for mother tongue state examination” informed Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Minister of Education, Science and Sports, quoted in the announcement.

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

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