Polish government representatives have no issues with ethnic minority education in Lithuania, vice-minister says

DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“When it comes to the unified Lithuanian-language examination, there were fears that it may be too difficult for the Polish ethnic minority students; however, comparison of results and analysis showed that the performance of ethnic minority students is the same as that of Lithuanian students, this helped us dispel the fears and indeed there were even no proposals or calls for changes,” Lithuania’s Education Vice-Minister Genoveita Krasauskienė told BNS after meeting with her Polish counterpart.

In her words, the Polish ministry’s officials did not highlight the demands made by ethnic minority representatives who held a protest rally last week.

Whereas previously ethnic minority school students would take a different Lithuanian language exam from the rest of graduates, the unified examination was introduced several years ago. Students of ethnic minority schools are still marked more leniently, but these exemptions should be dropped in 2020.

In Krasauskienė’s words, Thursday’s meeting addressed changes of the school network both in Poland and in Lithuania.

“They asked for our position and we said we were in support of keeping the schools, given that they meet certain criteria. We do not want artificial restructuring,although we still noted that it was an issue decided by municipalities and it was up to them to decide on the school network,” the Lithuanian vice-minister said.

She said she also noted the need for more attention to Lithuanian-language schools in Poland.

“This is in connection to financing, textbooks and other things – we did not make a strong emphasis on the matter but drew their attention, just like they did in connection to the Polish school network in Lithuania,” said Krasauskienė.

In her words, Dudek also asked the Lithuanian Education and Science Ministry to set up a task force for discussion of education matters with representatives of the Polish minority. Lithuania pledged to look into the need for task forces with representatives of various ethnic minorities.

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