Collected signatures under the referendum request about educational duty for six-year-olds raised a fervent discussion in the Seym. A million of citizens are facing big arrogance and insolence of the authority

This year it has been the last time when parents had a choice. As a result, they sent only 15 per cent of the six-year-olds to school. Such a weak result is not accepted by our authority. Therefore, the National Education Ministry does not intend to force the rest of 85 per cent children to go to school.

Practically, there is no group in Poland which would support the current educational reform. Sending a six-year-old child to school is an authorship idea of the governing party led by the former minister Katarzyna Hall, and at present being continued by Krystyna Szumilas. Despite the critical report of the Supreme Control Chamber, many educational and academic environments, the Pedagogical Studies Committee of the Polish Science Academy, the government is still enforcing the educational duty for six-year-old children.

Who is afraid of voting?

The current situation in the coalition is so tensed that the marshal Ewa Kopacz divided a debate and voting in this issue into two different meetings of the Seym. The Platform is afraid that the government will not receive the required majority of votes needed for rejecting the referendum request. The Civic Platform needs more time to discipline its parliamentarians and look for a possible support outside the coalition.

The marshal of the Polish Seym abused our trust. I would like to know why the debate was divided from ballot when we had been invited for it. MPs were deprived of votes as much as parents were deprived of their influence on their children’s education – says Tomasz Elbanowski, a proxy of the committee of initiators of implementing the referendum. He also appealed to the MPs: - Your vote will express either Your respect or lack of respect to people who collected signatures.

The opinion of Elbanowski was shared by the politician of the Civic Platform party Jarosław Gowin. – Voting about the referendum is a question about what kind of culture we are for. For the culture of civilian democracy, or for the culture of the centralistic authority? – emphasized Gowin. He declared to vote for the referendum and advised MPs of the governmental coalition to do the same. – For, in such situations we must put our conscience in the first place over the party discipline.

The Platform also gave itself time in order to suppress MPs from the coalition of the Polish Peasant Party. For, some of them opted for citizens. – I will vote for the referendum about six-year-old children. We must respect the vote of the million Poles. Sometimes we must explicitly oppose to the coalition – says Eugeniusz Kłopotek from the Polish Peasant Party in the Seym.

MPs of the Polish Peasant Party have a chance now to stand out for independence. This voting may turn out to be very important for the Polish Peasant Party for one more reason. One can conclude from all educational reports that these are just village schools which are prepared for the reform in the worst way. Experience shows that their educational reality is very complicated. – After all, these little six-year-old children will have to get on one school bus on their own and commute to school with junior high school students. When they will be coming back in winter at 3 p.m., they will be left on the very village road – explained Jacek Bogucki, a parliamentarian of the Solidary Poland.

Respect for parents

A very critical report about the six-year-olds was prepared by the School Pedagogium of the Higher School of Social Science in Warsaw. The survey showed that every third parent of a six-year-old child at school noticed that his /her child has ‘many adaptive problems’ resulting from their entering the school reality. Half of parents, who decided to send their six-year-old children to school, would not make such a decision today.

In the Seym also Donald Tusk’s expose was reminded about, in which he had said that parents would decide how to spend money on education of their children. – Who can one trust more as it concerns the process of teaching our children if not parents. Who will take more care about a way of educating children, if not parents – said Tusk.

The reality is far from the declaration of the prime minister who wants to leave parents without any possibility of choice. Since September concerned mothers and fathers have been going to parliamentary offices all over Poland. And it is five year the debate on this issue has been taking place in media. – However, there was not any debate with the government for a single moment, neither minister Hall, nor Szumilas, nor the prime minister wanted to talk with parents about educational reform – emphasizes Karolina Elbanowska, a co-organizer of the action Save Little Children. – Therefore, I appeal to all MPs for a bit of respect towards those people who collected signatures. Collecting a million signatures is a phenomenon in the European scale. Nether members of political parties, nor labour unions collected them but parents simply did it.


"Niedziela" 44/2013

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl