News2019.11.21 10:05

Lithuania and Poland step up cooperation in education, agree on joint textbook production

BNS 2019.11.21 10:05

The Lithuanian and Polish education ministers signed a declaration on ethnic minority education during a meeting in Warsaw on Wednesday.

Algirdas Monkevicius and Dariusz Pionkowski agreed to provide schools with native-language textbooks and to ensure funding for additional teaching aids, Lithuania's Ministry of Education, Science and Sports said.

According to the Polish Press Agency, Warsaw hopes the agreement will bring the two countries closer in allowing national graduation exams in the ethnic minority's language. “I hope this will translate into even closer cooperation, also in translating [graduation] exam tests, not only in Poland but also in Lithuania,” said Polish Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski.

The document, among other things, included a commitment to provide additional assistance to schools and children with special education needs.

The agreement also stipulates to systematically monitor the quality of ethnic minority education in Lithuania and Poland and review the results periodically.

A plan on how to implement the agreement will be drafted March 1, 2020. Lithuania and Poland agreed to set up a working group to oversee the declarations' implementation and meet at least once a year to exchange information on the results.

Lithuania is aiming to improve relations with Poland following the election of Gitanas Nausėda as president, however, minority issues remain a key obstacle.

The Polish community in Lithuania has been pressing the government, among other things, to allow the original spelling of their names in passports. Whereas the Lithuanian schools and nurseries in Poland have previously complained of red tape against teaching in their native language.

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