Ziobro’s people are fighting with Minister Czarnek for school principals. Will they be like judges or will people be constantly judged?
Photo: PAP / Wojciech Olkuśnik
The Ministry of Justice would like the school headmaster to wear the shoes of a judge and a prosecutor in one and discipline students, although until recently it believed that school teachers should be severely punished for school misconduct by students. Nobody agreed the draft regulations with the Ministry of Education, and as we find out, the Minister of Education has not yet said the last word on the so-called lex Czarnek, who facilitated the dismissal of rebellious directors. – It is about a political escalation of tensions – there is no doubt the president of the PNA and that the students will lose.
A city with a population of 100,000 in western Poland. One of the current principals of a secondary school is getting ready to compete for the position of the director of the facility he has been managing for years. He focuses on his ideas and does not know if he will have any competition.
– For many months I do not remember a competition in our city, for which someone more than a director would apply and would like to continue his work. And not always, because no one participates in many competitions – he says.
A decade ago, competitions could last many hours, and six or seven candidates competed for the director’s position. Today, more and more often the jury has nobody to talk to and this is not only happening in large cities.
April. Commune of Limanowa – only in two of the six competitions organized there, someone willing to run a school applied.
May. Only two competitions were resolved in Rawicz, and there were no applicants in four more. The competitions were announced again.
There were also no volunteers this spring to manage the posts in Otyń and Niedoradz near Nowa Sol.
In Warsaw this year before the end of their term of office, 14 directors resigned. Since the beginning of the year, 200 competitions have been announced in the capital, some have not been resolved so far, but in at least 23 there was not a single person who met the competition requirements.
Why is this happening?
When I talk to school principals, they usually say that they are tired, stressed, fed up with adding responsibilities and duties to them and, above all, mixing them up in politics.
It discourages the so-called lex Czarnek (a project entrusting school superintendents with practical power over schools) and lex Wójcik (assuming that principals will be punished for an accident at school even with a prison).
While it is natural that the Ministry of Education and Science is concerned with the fate of the headmasters, getting involved in the affairs of the schools of the Ministry of Justice, that is in practice by Zbigniew Ziobro’s politicians from Solidarity Poland, is a real rarity. Until now, they have usually done it as part of standard formalities, for example during inter-ministerial consultations, when educational regulations somehow touched upon criminal law. However, in recent months, it was the politicians of the SP who took the initiative themselves and they are doing it with considerable verve, not really worrying about what the minister of education and science, Przemysław Czarnek, is doing. Their intensification and interest in the subject is so surprising that they do not even have one deputy in the parliamentary education committee.
Until recently, the directors seemed to be able to breathe. Lex Czarnek was lost in February, Lex Wójcik is stuck in parliamentary committees and does not seem to be leaving them. But this is not the end of politicians getting involved in the work of schools!
Now the Ministry of Justice is dealing with new regulations that have made executives feel pale. This time – it’s a surprise – politicians want to give school leaders more power that they clearly don’t want. The Sejm received a government bill on supporting and rehabilitating minors, which envisages that school principals will be able to impose “educational measures” on students, i.e. in practice – they will replace judges.
The President of the PNA, Sławomir Broniarz, points to a certain inconsistency in the political assumptions of the ministries of education and justice. – Just a moment ago, Minister Wójcik wanted to penalize the directors, Minister Czarnek wanted to subordinate them to the probation officers, and now suddenly the rulers say: “we will help the directors to punish and discipline the students” – he notes. And immediately adds: – We need motivation to work with difficult students and their parents, psychological and pedagogical support.
– The times of the basket on the head, which the student puts on the teacher and the teacher cannot cope, have passed over 20 years ago – echoes Marek Pleśniar, head of the National Association of Educational Management Staff (OSKKO). And he repeats many times: we did not ask for it (regulations granting the director the powers of judges).
A representative of organizations that care for the rights of students alerts: Adoption of the Project in the unchanged form will therefore lead to a situation in which minors for acts of relatively less importance than crimes prosecuted ex officio and fiscal crimes will be exposed to an ailment often greater than in criminal proceedings and, in addition, applied by a non-professional entity without legal education.
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