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Anna Zalewska expected to survive vote of no confidence

Polish Education Minister Anna Zalewska faces a vote of no confidence in parliament on Friday, a move triggered by planned reforms to schools but one she is expected to survive. The opposition Civic Platform (PO) party submitted the motion in October in reaction to Zalewska’s plans to do away with middle schools.

Opposition parties PO, Nowoczesna and PSL plan to vote against Zalewska, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party plans to vote to support her, while opposition grouping Kukiz’15 plans to abstain. PiS has a majority in parliament.

A parliamentary committee criticized the no-confidence motion on Wednesday, with PiS MP Marzena Machałek accusing PO of using it as a smokescreen “to cover eight years of mistakes and awful decisions for Polish education” under the previous government.

However, PO officials claimed Zalewska was working to the detriment of school pupils and that the motion was submitted in children’s best interests.

Sticking to promises made ahead of general elections last year, the government intends to do away with a school system which has been in place since 1999, and return to an earlier model.

Currently, children go through a six-year primary school, three-year middle school and three-year high school.

Starting from 2017, the education ministry wants to reintroduce an eight-year primary school followed by four-year high school or five-year vocational school.

Thousands of teachers and parents rallied against the planned reform on 10 March.

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