Polish MPs approve education reforms
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish MPs late on Wednesday gave the green light to education reforms which include abolishing lower secondary schools.
Education minister Anna Zalewska in parliament. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell
Voting lasted four hours and was accompanied by a stormy debate.
Opposition politicians lamented what they said was "the blackest day for Polish education."
The ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which swept to power late last year, countered by saying the reforms mean a return to “normal Polish schools”.
The opposition Nowoczesna party appealed to the president not to sign the new measures into law.
The changes are expected to start to come into effect when the new school year starts on 1 September.
Law and Justice MP Dariusz Piontkowski said that while working as a teacher he had seen pupils’ level of knowledge and skills falling under the current lower secondary school system.
“We are bringing back the teaching of history. We are bringing back patriotic education,” he added.
Addressing the Civic Platform party, which headed the previous government, he said: “We want to avoid what you have led to, [a situation in which] schools became only a form of preparation for tests. It’s time that pupils understand what they are learning.”
Under the reforms, Poland will return to a previous system of eight-year elementary school followed by either five-year technical school or four-year high school.
The current system, which comprises a six-year elementary school, three-year lower secondary school and three-year high-school, was introduced 17 years ago. (pk)