• March 27, 2024
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Issues of Polish education have been raised in front of parents and teachers.

The discussion on current issues in Polish education in Lithuania was initiated by the Forum of Parents of Polish Schools in the Soleczniki Region. Parents and teachers raised many pressing educational issues and shared ideas for solving them. The meeting took place on the 20th of March at the Jan Śniadecki Middle School in Soleczniki.

Recently, the topic that has been stirring up the most emotions is the issue of intermediate matura exams in the 11th grade and the introduction of teaching geography, history, and citizenship lessons in Lithuanian from the first year of studying these subjects in school.

‘While deciding on sending a child to school with Polish-language instruction the parent expects that the subjects there will be taught in Polish, therefore attempts to force on us teaching history or geography in Lithuanian is unintelligible. Parents clearly state that they are against such irrational decisions from the Ministry of Education because they want their children to learn in their native language. Especially because it is allowed by the Lithuanian legislation.

Matura in Polish

During the meeting, the issue of taking the matura exam in various subjects in Polish was also discussed. This is a practice adopted in several European countries where national minorities reside, such as in Transylvania (Romania), the Czech Republic, or in Poland.

‘We are reflecting upon conducting a survey among the youth from higher classes to express their opinion whether they want to take exams in their native language or not.’ – said the chair of the forum.

The teaching of Lithuanian remains problematic.

During the meeting, parents and teachers also addressed the need for effective Lithuanian language instruction in school. As parents pointed out, teaching Lithuanian in the early grades still has shortcomings because the teaching is done according to a standardized curriculum that is not tailored to the children’s level. Both children from Lithuanian-speaking families and those who start learning the language practically from scratch are placed at the same starting point.

Children start learning Lithuanian already in kindergarten, but, as one of the Lithuanian language teachers present at the meeting pointed out, teachers of Lithuanian have not yet received the necessary methodological assistance and teaching materials from the Ministry. As a result, they have been developing teaching topics independently.

‘In preschool groups, Lithuanian language lessons take place five times a week: three times for half an hour and two times for an hour. In the early grades, we have 5 lessons of Lithuanian language instruction. Teaching children to speak Lithuanian is a huge challenge and actually depends on the creativity of the teacher. I have to search for topics, texts, dialogues, exercises myself and tailor them to the students’ abilities’ – said the Lithuanian language teacher.

‘It’s the Ministry of Education that has to take care of providing not only the curriculum but also disciplined materials, references, suitable textbooks, and graphic training aids, and not pass this onto the teacher’s shoulders.’ – emphasizes Renata Cytacka.

One of the suggested solutions to address the issue of mismatched Lithuanian language teaching programs in schools of national minorities is to adapt the Lithuanian language teaching curriculum for foreigners in the early grades of minority schools.

As the chair of the forum said, she also presented the most important issues regarding Polish education in Lithuania at the meeting of the Parliamentary Team for the Affairs of the Borderlands of the Republic of Poland in the Polish Parliament on March 20th.

The Forum of Parents of Polish Schools in the Soleczniki Region is a social organization that gathers parents of students attending Polish schools, as well as individuals who are concerned about Polish education in Lithuania. It has been operating since 2012.

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

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