bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 23.07.2017 | Name days: Magda, Magone, Mērija
LithuaniaLithuania

Politicized new school year: Polish pupils get to seek God’s attention

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULinas Jegelevičius

The belief that the standoff between Russia and the West will spark ethnic enmity in Lithuania’s Russian and Polish regions has not lived up. The Russians have not roughed up amid the tensions, but the Poles, herded by the Electoral Action of Poles (EAP), a clamorous parliamentary faction, have hit the streets. Last Wednesday, Polish pupils in Vilnius bypassed their classrooms and swarmed the Chapel of the Gates of Dawn, asking God to turn ear to the Poles’ laments over ostensible educational drawbacks.

Poles swarm popular Vilnius chapel

Protesters demanded elimination in Polish schools of reinforced Lithuanian language exam, seen now too difficult by many Polish pupils and their parents. The Poles also want to have the so-called pupil’s basket, which is about the amount of money allotted yearly for each schoolchild, to be raised one a half time. Irritatingly to the education policy-makers, the Poles also insist on introducing the Polish language exam in Polish minority schools as mandatory.

Reportedly a half thousand Polish primary and secondary school pupils gathered at the Chapel of the Gates of Dawn clamoring for change in curriculum and the order of exams. The crowd also booed the reorganization of some of Polish schools in the predominantly Polish Vilnius region.

Lithuanian Poles have long been seeking right to write Polish names and surnames using Polish alphabet letters, which Lithuanian laws exclude.

Orchestra conductor is obvious?

«The rally has obviously been orchestrated by the Electoral Action of Poles. It needs to get people talking no matter what to keep the spotlight until the parliamentary election,» says Kęstutis Girnius, a US-born Lithuanian political scientist.

Although the organizers of the rally were officially named as «Polish and Russian pupils’ parents», but with the presence in it of the Polish party’s high-ranking officials and chairman Valdemaras Tomaševskis himself, few had doubt that the walkout had been orchestrated by EAP leaders.

According to the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science, among the participants of the protest were schoolchildren from as many as 32 minority schools in Vilnius region, 18 schools in Šalčininkai region and 4 schools in Trakai region.

Among the protesting Vilnius schools were Joachimas Lelevelis, Simonas Konarskis, Vladislov Sirkokomle, Levas Karsavinas and Lazdynai secondary schools.

Pupil turnout varied on rally day

According to the Vilnius Municipality, the pupil turnout on the morning of September 2, when the rally was held, varied from 5 percent in Vladislov Sirokomle secondary school to 83 percent in Lazdynai secondary school.

The municipality officials have also hinted that teachers and pupils in some of the schools were instigated to miss classes and attend the rally.

The Municipality is said to be investigating the claims.

Talking to BNS, a Lithuanian news agency, Edita Zubel, the principle of Joachimas Lelevelis secondary school, told that every fifth pupil showed up for classes on September 2.

«The teachers are working according to the schedule, but we have very few pupils today indeed- a mere 90 out of 503 on the pupil list,» the principle was quoted as saying.

Zubel, however, did not want to speculate what the reason for absence of the children was.

«We will learn of the reasons Thursday, when the missing pupils will explain themselves,» she said.

Too tough Lithuanian language exam

Meanwhile, Kristina Kratkovska, the principle of Simonas Konarskis Secondary School, told Lithuania media that majority out of the school’s 403 pupils showed up for classes last Wednesday.

The Polish youngsters in the rally complained, among other things, of too high requirements for the Lithuanian language exam and mess in the reorganization of Polish schools.

«I have graduated this year from Simonas Konarskis secondary school and I came here with a friend of mine, a graduate student this year. We were in the same school, but it’s a pity now that she cannot calmly finish her years at the school. I don’t know whether it makes sense to change something at the last minute. All feel intimidated now. My female friend was supposed to be in the 12th grade and she still doesn’t know whether she is in the school, or not,» Modestas, a resident of the Lithuanian capital, was quoted as saying.

The exasperation is about the reorganization of the school, which saw 11 and 12 grades abolished this year.

Parents: reforms are sped up

Speaking to BNS, Dariušas Zibcovas, the father whose daughter attends Simonas Konarskis secondary school, rebutted Vilnius authorities for «an expedited reform» of Polish minority schools.

«The reorganization should be carried out not in a month, which we see happening now, but in two years’ time, which is foreseen by the law amendments. One of the gymnasiums is entitled to form fifth grades, whereas others, releasing 11 and 12th grades, are stripped of the right. All actions should be coordinated jointly,» the fretted father pointed out.

One of the organizers of the rally, Danuta Narbut, who is also a representative of Lithuania’s Polish School Parent Forum, told the protest action would be taking place a single day.

«We are expecting that the walkout will lead to a suitable and purposeful conversation with the Lithuanian authorities,» she hoped.

The Education and Science Ministry, meanwhile, urges heads of the Electoral Action of Poles to stop «politicizing», entangling pupils and their parents in protests, and encourage pupils to excel academically.

According to the Ministry, ethnic schools’ graduates do well in the exams, including the Lithuanian language and literature exam with enhanced requirements.

«For pupils in ethnic minority schools, certain exam facilitations are applied – they get away with more mistakes in the works- get the exam passed,» statement by the Ministry says.

The easement will be valid through 2019-2020 school year, according to the Ministry.

Ministry: Polish schools are richer

And, finally, when it comes to the pupil basket funds, it in ethnic schools is one-fifth larger, insists the Ministry.

There are 51 Polish language schools and 32 Russian language schools in Lithuania. In 36 educational establishments, curriculum subjects are taught in several languages. A single school in Lithuania teaches in Belarusian.

The Ministry also brings attention to the fact that, over the last 15 years, the number of Polish language schools has shrunk by 35 percent. However, the number of Lithuanian schools has also been declining.

Foreign minister: EAP leaders slander Lithuania

Following the rally, Linas Linkevičius, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, lashed out at the EAP leaders, accusing them of« slandering Lithuania» on presumable discrimination in the field of education. The minister believes that the conditions that Lithuania has set for Poles’ secondary education are hardly matched by any other country.

«There are 20 million Poles living outside Poland and some 200 thousand of them reside in Lithuania. In comparison, there are a several hundred Polish language schools abroad and, let it note, 90 of them come for Lithuania. In Lithuania, one get education in the Polish language from a kindergarten to a high school,»Linkevičius told a Lithuania radio channel Wednesday.

He added saying that the situation can be improved, but suggest to the entire world that the Poles are discriminated in Lithuania, which some of our politicians do, is irresponsible.

Poles’ party need to stoke flame to hold grip on power

Asked whether the September 2 rally is about the EAP’s kick-start of a parliamentary election campaign, Kęstutis Girnius, the political analyst, believes behind the cultural and educational demands lies the politics.

«The Electoral Action of Poles can expect to last on the Lithuanian political stage as long as it will be stoking the feeling that local Poles are ostensibly abused by Lithuanians. The chairman of the party, Tomaševskis, is well aware of that and I don’t think it will let the sentiment die. Simply because it would not serve his political interests and the party’s,» Girnius told BNN.

Meanwhile, Vladas Sirutavičius, an expert on Lithuanian and Polish relations, notes that September 1 marks day when the Soviet Army forayed Poland back in 1939.

«I really do not see here what you call «Moscow’s hand talking about the September 2 rally at the chapel,» Sirutavičius told BNN, but withheld from further comments.

Polish MP: Lithuania needs to heed UK example

Rita Tamošiūnienė, a parliamentarian from the faction of Electorate Action of Poles, disagreed that the party stokes rebellious mood among the grassroots.

«What kind of politicizing are you talking about? We’ve have included the demands we voiced during the Wednesday rally in EAP election program laid out yet in 2012. Do you believe that the Lithuanian Seimas will do the job we are asking to be done for us?» the MP asked rhetorically.

She insisted that Polish school accreditation system is biased and flawed.

«Look, Lithuanian schools pass accreditation easily, but not the Polish schools. We do not understand the ongoing reform of Polish schools, when some schools get closed, others see their status changed, which at the end have the pupils moving from one school to another. All this creates much stress and distrust that others schools are not put through,» Tamošiūnienė noted.

In the United Kingdom, she points out, Lithuanian émigré children are free to take Lithuanian exam.

«If the UK were like Lithuania distrusting other ethnicities, it would be impossible. We want effectively the same: allow Polish pupils here take the Polish language and literature exam, which we want to be on par with the Lithuanian language exam. I don’t think there is something wrong about the striving,» the lawmaker told BNN.

 


Leave a reply

BNN summary of the week: Kucinskis in Ridzene’s room and government’s rushed decisions

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Truth; Business and Growth.

Tourists die in Aegean Sea earthquake

A powerful quake that struck in the Aegean Sea has taken the lives of two persons in Greece, local authorities have stated.

Fashion in business: how to be heard in the modern-day world?

It would seem that nowadays strict fashion trends have «died». This is because people for ways to look beautiful and comfortable. One of the minds behind TRÉS fashion line, Enija Mugurevica shares advice how to start a business in the fashion industry from scratch and be heard and noticed in the modern-day world.

FCMC fines Norvik Banka for EUR 1.3 million and Rietumu Banka for EUR 1.56 million

Finance and Capital Market Commission in cooperation with Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterproliferation Center found out in a target inspection that Latvian banks – Norvik Banka and Rietumu Banka – have not followed requirements of regulations for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism funding.

Saeima approves controversial amendments to Credit Institutions Law

On Friday, 21 July, Latvian Saeima approved amendments to the Credit Institutions Law, which were previously returned to the parliament for a repeated viewing by President Raimonds Vejonis, completely unchanged.

Bank of Latvia: tax reform is a disappointment; it will not improve competitiveness

The tax reform submitted to the Saeima for approval is one big disappointment that will not improve competitiveness, said head of the Monetary Policy Office of the Bank of Latvia Uldis Rutkaste in an interview to LNT 900 seconds.

Betsafe predicts: will Duklavs remain Latvia’s Agriculture Minister?

Although Unity has asked the Union of Greens and Farmers to replace Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs with someone else after the scandalous oligarch talks in Ridzene hotel, Duklavs will likely keep his post, according to Betsafe bookmakers. There is a 33% probability of Duklavs losing his post.

Latvian alcohol industry has an offer to increase excise tax rate

Experience shows – rapid increase of excise tax results in rapid increase of prices and rapid decline of revenue for the state treasury. Based on careful calculations, Latvian Alcohol Industry Association asks the government to stick with the current excise tax increase plan.

Air temperature to reach +24° C… +25° C in Latvia on weekend

Weather is expected to be largely dry this weekend in Latvia. Next week, however, is expected to be rainy, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Saeima deputies sign agreement on Oligarch talks committee’s formation

So far only parliament members have signed the agreement on the formation of a Saeima committee for the investigation of Oligarch talks. Neither of them represents Unity – Karlis Serzants from Union of Greens and Farmers and Einars Cilinskis from VL-TB/LNNK.

Seaima Praesidium approves parliamentary budget for 2018

On 20 July, Saeima Praesidium approved the parliament’s budget request for 2018. It is planned to be EUR 22.04 million, setting funding to maintain current functions on the level of 2017, BNN was informed by Saeima press-service.

Beer brewers: fooling around with tax reforms could destroy Latvia’s beer industry

By increasing excise tax for beer, the goal of reducing alcohol consumption will not be achieved. This is because consumption of other alcoholic beverages will increase as a result, notes CEO of Latvian Breweries Union Peteris Linins, commenting on the government’s plans to raise excise tax for beer.

4,558 marriages registered in Latvia in first six months of 2017

Over the past three years, Latvian birth number almost has not changed and constitutes 22 thousand annually. 10,175 children were born in the first half of 2017, which means 990 newborn fewer than in the same period a year ago.

Broadcasting organizations ask NEPLP to stop meddling with public media contents

The board of Latvian Association of Broadcasting Organizations urges the government and National Electronic Mass Media Council to continue realizing reforms in public media.

Kucinskis also met with Slesers in the infamous meeting room of Ridzene hotel

Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis admits having met with Ainars Slesers in the now infamous meeting room in Ridzene hotel a couple of times, specifically when the People’s Party made the decision to join Par labu Latviju.

Pumpurs hands 99% of Užavas alus capital shares to his son

Ildis Pumpurs, up until now the only owner and board member of Ventspils Užavas alus brewery, has handed 99% of the company’s capital shares to his son Oskars Pumpurs.

Repeated elections in Kekava – activity twice as high so far

Repeated election has commenced in Kekava’s 785 election site. 274 voters or 7% of local voting population took part in elections in the first day, according to data from the election site.

Estonia plans accepting from Turkey 160 Syrian refugees

Estonian police are looking into the documents on 160 refugees from Syria that are to be moved to Estonia in line with an agreement reached between the EU and Turkey.

Experts: potato harvest in Latvia may come later than usual this year

Potato harvest in Latvia may come one week later than usual. Still, the harvest is expected to be on the level of last year, BNN was told by Potato Growers and Processors Union.

News feed to be added to Google's website and mobile app

Internet search giant Google has said it would add a continuous feed of news and other content to its homepage and mobile app, which would be displayed before a user makes a search query.

NATO and Chinese ships perform joint manoeuvrer before entering Baltic Sea

This week, Standing NATO Maritime Group One welcomed in international a group of Chinese Navy ships that entered the Baltic Sea through the Strait of Denmark from the North Sea. Ships of both groups performed a mutually coordinated manoeuvrer for the ships to ensure safe entry of ships into the Baltic Sea, as reported by Latvian Defence Ministry.

Russia distances itself from proclamation of «Malorossiya» in eastern Ukraine

The Kremlin has noted that the proclamation of a county entitled «Malorossiya», or «Little Russia» in the pro-Kremlin-separatist-held eastern parts of Ukraine is a personal initiative of the rebel leader.

Expert: oil prices will likely remain zigzag-like

Aside from one week, oil reserves have been continuously declining since April. This trend will likely continue. Oil refining activities were not too high. This reduced demand for oil. In Q3, oil producers will increase production output and compound stores, comments macroeconomics expert Dainis Gaspuitis.

Construction output in Q1 in Latvia – tenth largest in EU

In Latvia, construction production volume in Q1 2017, when compared with the same period of last year, grew 8.4%. This puts Latvia on the tenth place among EU member states, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

Do you have an acquaintance currently looking for a job?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: