VILNIUS - Ahead of Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius’ visit to Poland, Deputy Seimas Speaker, Conservative Irena Degutiene has called his attention to some of the current problems Lithuanians in Poland encounter, reports ELTA. In an official letter, Degutiene urges the PM to discuss the issues and try to resolve them during the meetings with Poland’s top officials.
“In theory, the Lithuanians are provided with opportunities to study in their mother-tongue from kindergarten to secondary school; yet, the funding of schools is problematic, entirely depending on a municipality. For example, a Lithuanian Ziburio school in Sejny constantly faces funding problems. If it were not for the Lithuanian support, this seed spot of the Lithuanian identity would have to be closed. Because of insufficient funding there is not enough money for printing textbooks in Lithuanian, teachers lack teaching materials. It not only makes their work harder but also in many cases discourages students. One should keep in mind that in 10 years half of Lithuanian schools in Poland were closed down,” she said.
Polish laws stipulate that national minorities can have their print publications, TV and radio programs in their mother-tongue. Periodical Ausra, in the Lithuanian langue, targeting the entire Lithuanian community in the country, is facing financial troubles that are impossible to resolve when the Polish Ministry of Administration and Digitization decided that the periodical must return a part of its subsidy for 2011. According to Degutiene, this decision is worrying also for the fact that, as far as it is known for the Lithuanian community in Poland, periodicals of other national minorities in Poland were not asked anything like this.