- December 13, 2022
“Reitingai”: Polish schools among the 50 best in Lithuania
On Wednesday, the magazine “Reitingai” presented the latest rankings of schools in Lithuania for the 9th time. 50 out of over 360 middle schools were awarded, whose graduates passed the state final exams best in each subject.
Among the distinguished were also institutions with Polish as the language of instruction. “Schools of national minorities are doing well in sciences,” confirms Gintaras Sarafinas, editor-in-chief of the Reitingai magazine, in an interview with “Kurier Wileński”.
When ranking middle schools, this time no points were awarded for exams taken in the range of 16 to 36 points, which authors justified with the goal of ensuring that schools teach the subject at a high level. Schools that achieved a passing percentage of 36 to 85 points (basic level) were awarded 4 points. Schools, in which the highest percentage of students (among all those taking a specific exam) passed the final exam at the highest level in the range of 86 to 100 points were awarded 6 points. Schools where all those taking a particular exam passed it received an additional point. Thus, schools that showed really good overall results were included in the table of the best.
Polish schools among the top 50
It is gratifying to see that among the top 50 schools in the country, some have Polish as their language of instruction. In the subject rankings John Paul II Middle School in Vilnius was mentioned most often. The school has had good results in several final exams, including mathematics, information technology, physics, chemistry, geography, and Russian language.
As the ranking indicates, studying in an elite school is not a guarantee that a student will pass state exams. This year, even students at those middle schools that carry out the selection of students, had problems with math exam. Out of the 50 middle schools in the country that had the highest passing rate on the math exam, as many as eleven of them had one or more graduates who failed the final exam in this subject. In total, in Lithuania in the last school year, 5133, i.e. as much as 35.42 percent of all graduates in the country failed the exam in this discipline. Against the background of these statistics, some schools with Polish as the language of instruction fared well: Michał Baliński Middle School in Jaszuny in the Šalčininkai region, where all students successfully passed the exam (22nd place in the subject ranking in mathematics), John Paul II Middle School in Vilnius (27th place), Wł. Syrokomli Middle School in Vilnius (41st place).
Middle schools with Polish as the language of instruction are also listed in the top 50 of other subject rankings: J. I. Kraszewski Middle School in Vilnius for physics, Jan Śniadecki Middle School in Soleczniki for chemistry and biology, K. Parczewski Middle School in Niemenczyn for chemistry and history, Wł. Syrokomla Middle School in Vilnius and the Middle School in Mickunai for geography, St. Rafael Kalinowski Middle School in Niemeż for German language. The Achilles’ heel remains the Lithuanian language exam: no Polish schools made it to the top 50.
After English, the second foreign language is Russian
Many schools with Polish as the language of instruction have shown good knowledge of the Russian language: John Paul II Middle School in Vilnius, Sz. Konarski Middle School in Vilnius, Wł. Syrokomli Middle School, Saint Kazimierz Middle School in Miedniki, A. Mickiewicz High school in Vilnius, J. I. Kraszewski Middle School in Vilnius, Middle School in Mikcuny, F. Ruszczyca Middle School in Rudomin, Michał Baliński Middle School in Jaszuny, St. Batory Middle School in Ławaryszki, H. Sienkiewicz Middle School in Landwarow, J. Słowacki Middle School in Bezdany, K. Parczewski Middle School in Niemenczyn, Jana Bosko Middle School in Jałówka, St. Rafał Kalinowski Middle School in Niemież.
According to the authors of the national ranking, students in Lithuania most often and best pass the final graduation exam in English. This year, 17,912 students took the exam. As a second foreign language, they most often chose Russian (1,963 students took the exam), because they practically have no other choice. For comparison, 99 students took the German exam, and 32 took the French exam. Although the Ministry of Education indicates in the general education plan the possibility for students to choose a second foreign language from at least six European and neighbouring countries, the authors of the ranking claim that the reality is different. Journalists from the “Reitingai” magazine called several hundred schools where, according to the Ministry’s declaration, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Norwegian or other (less commonly spoken foreign languages in Lithuania) are taught as a second foreign language. However, it turned out that in most schools they are not taught or are taught as part of a club or additional informal classes.
There is a need for specialists with knowledge of Polish
Meanwhile, there is a demand in the country for specialists with knowledge of foreign languages, e.g. Scandinavian. They earn 20-25 percent more. The same applies to specialists who know German or French, Italian or Spanish. Their salaries are 15-25 percent higher. Specialists with additional knowledge of Polish or Russian receive a salary higher by 10%. If you look at the top five Lithuanian companies looking for specialists with knowledge of foreign languages, it turns out that the most sought after are employees with knowledge of English, Russian, German, French and Polish, according to the data of the Reitingai magazine.
The magazine points out that The Lithuanian state still has no foreign language teaching strategy, no concept of which foreign languages should be taught to children in order to attract more FDI.
The Education is in ruins
Reading the latest issue of “Reitingai” a more than pessimistic picture of the Lithuanian education system emerges. Every year, the number of teachers of all subjects in schools drastically decreases. There are already such regions where there are only two chemistry teachers and three physics teachers. “You still have to be able to destroy the teacher education system so skilfully, but our state with its educational strategists was able to do it. Today everything lies in ruins. And there is little hope for better (…) If educational strategists ever come up with the idea that in today’s highly developed technology era, students need to be given a solid foundation in physics, chemistry, mathematics and IT, then Lithuania will not be able to do it for the next few years. Increasing the number of these subjects is unrealistic, since we are no longer able to provide even a minimum replacement for older generation teachers,” the magazine concludes.
We invite Readers to read a broader conversation with the editor of the “Reitingai” magazine, Gintaras Sarafinas, in the next issue of the “Kurier Wileński” magazine.
Translated by Anna Maria Nowak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.