Lithuania wants to preserve education in national minority languages, the country’s PM Ingrida Šimonytė said in an interview with TVP Wilno (Vilnius), and noted that Polish schools in her country will exist as long as parents want them to.
“We want to preserve this education, that is, to create conditions for preserving education in minority languages and developing their cultures,” she emphasized.
Šimonytė also positively assessed the idea, which has been discussed in the Lithuanian public space for several weeks, that Polish should be taught as a second foreign language in Lithuanian schools instead of Russian.
According to data from the Lithuanian Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, Russian as a second foreign language is the most popular language in schools this school year. Almost 15,000 sixth-grade students have chosen it. The Lithuanian education authorities have recommended that schools drop Russian as a second foreign language.
The PM explained that “children most often choose Russian not because they want it,” but because they have no other option. According to her, introducing Polish into Lithuanian schools “would not only be beneficial, but also much easier than, for example, Spanish or Italian.”
“There are quite a lot of people who know Polish in Lithuania, we have Polish schools where educators can be properly prepared to teach in Lithuanian schools as well. So this is a solvable issue,” she assessed.
There are about 70 schools with the Polish language of instruction in Lithuania, attended by more than 12,000 pupils.