A joint position signed by politicians from the Civic Platform and representatives of the Polish Teachers’ Union assumes “opposing the degradation of the teaching profession” and “the introduction of the so-called lex Czarnek act”. – We must come back to thinking about education as a great investment – Donald Tusk appealed.
On Monday, November 8, at the European Solidarity Center, Donald Tusk met with the presidium of the main board of the Polish Teachers’ Union. The chairman of the Civic Platform was accompanied by MPs Krystyna Szumilas and Kinga Gajewska (members of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science and Youth). The meeting ended with the adoption of a common position and an assurance about taking actions for better education.
– The Polish Teachers’ Union invited President Tusk and the MP to the meeting, because we want to talk about what is happening in the sphere of educational policy. – said the president of the PNA Sławomir Broniarz at the conference after the meeting. – We want to talk about the goals, directions and tasks of education. Think about how to change the narrative concerning the changes proposed by Minister Czarnek. They withdraw Polish education – assessed Broniarz.
Together against the actions of Minister Czarnek
These actions, which President Broniarz talked about, are two major education reforms. The first is the so-called lex Czarnek, or giving more power to school superintendents and limiting the activities of NGOs in schools. The second is plans to increase the number of employees, which is the number of hours teachers spend at the blackboard.
– We want to show clearly that education is not only a matter of teachers and the minister of education – said Broniarz. – It is a common good that will determine Poland’s position, fulfillment of the aspirations of the young generation, and whether we will be able to be a partner for European countries. Or rather, we will pursue goals that contradict the aspirations of a large part of parents and students – he added.
The meeting was also meant to determine what could be done to improve the difficult staffing situation in schools and kindergartens.
– We have agreed to joint activities in the Sejm – informed the deputy, former minister of education Krystyna Szumilas. And she added: – We have six percent inflation, and teachers from January 1 will not get a raise. Therefore, we are tabling an amendment to the budget. We want to transfer three billion zlotys to the educational subsidy, so that teachers can receive raises regardless of the decision of Minister Czarnek – she explained.
The school was a community
Szumilas also announced that the deputies would request the creation of a new special-purpose reserve for pay rises for teachers by September. And she added: – We will also cooperate when Lex Czarnek joins the Sejm. This law is harmful to parents and teachers.
– We are talking about the future of Polish education and the teaching profession – Donald Tusk summed up the meeting. – The school must not be another victim of bad governance. It cannot be that we will have more and more ideologies, more and more party decisions, and less and less money and an ever lower status of a teacher – he added.
In his opinion, “until recently, the school was a hard-working and painstakingly built community”. – Today the minister curator and the party are to decide how the education of children and youth should look like – commented Tusk. And he called for “a return to thinking about education as a great investment”
Pandemic in schools and kindergartens
During the conference, the president of the PNA was asked about the pandemic situation in education. – It is an incredible privilege for those in power to make decisions, but also to take responsibility for these decisions. – emphasized Broniarz. – Meanwhile, both Minister Czarnek and Minister Niedzielski are refusing to take the most radical decisions regarding, for example, the consequences of non-compliance with the rules that should be respected by all of us. – he added.
Broniarz recalled that the Polish Teachers’ Union appealed for teachers to be tested for COVID-19 in March last year.
– If schools are ready for a hybrid, it is thanks to their own efforts, the own commitment of teachers, principals and local governments – assessed Broniarz.
The president of the PNA also recalled the words of the Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, from last week, who said that “schools are now the predominant sources of infection.”
– If the Minister of Health believes that the threat of infections and transmission of the virus takes place in schools, and this results from his statements, we expect an urgent response from both him and Minister Czarnek. What are the suggestions for teachers? – Broniarz asked. And he summarized: – Putting everything into the competences of school principals, without giving them a chance to provide students and teachers with the equipment needed for remote learning, will to some extent be a relinquishment of themselves. You cannot expect teachers to deal with this problem on their own, thanks to their heroism, he added.
At tvn24.pl, we are looking at the ideas of Minister Przemysław Czarnek and his advisers. We translate the official language of laws and regulations into the language of school practice for you. We assess with experts whether what is behind these ideas and proposed solutions will be beneficial for students and teachers. We check whether school autonomy is under threat and whether parents will actually have an impact on the education and upbringing of their children. All this – articles, interviews, videos, interactive infographics, research reports – can be found on our website under the slogan #continuously.
Main photo source: PAP / Adam Warżawa