Lithuania unjustifiably slandered over Polish-language education, minister says

Linas Linkevičius
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

In the minister’s words, Lithuania provides better conditions for Polish-language education than any other country besides Poland. Speaking about the protests scheduled for Wednesday, Linkevičius said they were “political games” that unfortunately involve children.

“Some 20 million Poles live outside Poland across the globe, including 200,000 in Lithuania. There are a few hundred (Polish-language) schools in the world, including about 90 in Lithuania. Lithuania offers (Polish-language) education from kindergarten to university,” the Lithuanian diplomacy chief told the Žinių Radijas news radio on Wednesday morning.

“In my opinion, this is not very bad. Of course, the situation can be improved but telling the world (about discrimination), as some of our politicians do, and defaming Lithuania is indeed irresponsible,” said Linkevičius.

In protest of the education provisions in Lithuania, some students of Polish-language schools will on Wednesday skip school and attend a church service instead, organizers of the protest action said.

The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, the political party representing the country’s Polish-speakers, says that the strike is organized by “parents of Polish and Russian students”.

The organizers demand cancellation of the standardized Lithuanian-language exam and a raise in per-student funding for ethnic minority schools by a factor of one and a half.

Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Education and Science Ministry says that graduates of national minority schools are doing well in the unified exam of the Lithuanian language and literature, scoring top marks.

The ministry said that schools providing education in national minority languages receive per-student funding that is 20 percent above average.

Some 51 schools in Lithuania offer education in the Polish language, in addition to 32 in the Russian language, one in the Belarusian language and 36 mixed schools that teach in the Lithuanian, Polish and Russian languages.

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