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5 questions for … Tomasz Rzymovsky, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Science

5 questions for ... Tomasz Rzymovsky, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Science

Piotr Grzybowski: Quoted by Jan Zamoyski: “This will be the Commonwealth, how the young will be buried.” Do we know what this hiding is supposed to be?

Tomash Rzymkowski: First of all, we must listen to the words of the other great Pole, St. John Paul II. We have to ‘knock’ the heads of young people that they must demand of themselves and we must raise this bar higher and higher when it comes to acquiring knowledge. And at the same time it must be parallel to the inculcation of values, because what if we teach people in the field of humanities, mathematics and natural sciences, if we do not instill in them values? This well-acquired knowledge can then be used for evil purposes, that is, not used at all, because it would morally sink to the bottom. The obligation not only to educate, but also to raise children is expressly enshrined in the Education Act.

It is therefore important to constantly raise, even without outside interference, the ambition of learning among the youth, while establishing that the modern world must be based on the world of values, otherwise it will perish. In my opinion, this is the great challenge of the twenty-first century that we cannot function without a system of values. Those who say the world should be neutral in terms of a worldview preach nihilism, an escape into hedonism, consumption, and an escape from one’s identity. There is no such thing as a neutral worldview. There is at most an axiological basin and a world of opposing values, an opposite world, a mirror image of our world of values.

PG: Polish schools seem to mean a lot of students’ rights, and fewer and fewer duties and tools for teachers to have a real impact on education. Is there any chance of getting back into the master-apprentice relationship?

TRz: Absolutely yes, and so far there are places in Poland, both in large urban centers, but also in the Polish provinces, where the teacher is an authority. However, the vast majority of it depends on the teacher, but also a lot depends on the parents. If the parents at home express their respect for the teacher, the child will also respect the teacher.

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We care a lot about strengthening the position of the Polish teacher as an environmental authority, as a person who is not only fully prepared to impart knowledge and encourage the continued development of this knowledge, even after the formal completion of education. The teacher should encourage his students to have a cognitive workshop, a workshop for researchers, but it is also important that the teacher has an appropriate ethical attitude.

We do not want to do any moral sifting, but the teacher must know that if he represents an authority, not only in the scientific dimension, but also in the realm of values. It depends on him whether it will be a moral authority for students who often ask various questions, seek the right guidance in important life decisions, and the teacher should be a supportive sign for them.

PG: Is improving education just changing the core curriculum? What about the quality of teacher education?

Therese: We are monitoring what has been in place for several decades, namely the mechanism of teacher promotion and continuous improvement of qualifications, which, in my opinion, has not worked. It is difficult for me to find someone who would say that the mechanism of professional promotion and continuous improvement of qualifications is appropriate, because it boils down to the fact that while taking grades of successive promotion the teacher raises his qualifications, and when he reaches the highest level, i.e. the certified teacher, there is basically no motivation to develop further. We want this process of raising qualifications to continue throughout the teacher’s tenure in the education system.

We want and participate in the teacher education process. The education process cannot be reduced to a race for new diplomas, credentials or postgraduate degrees, and at the same time does not reflect the knowledge already acquired. We will consider this and it is currently the subject of our analytical work and discussion. We have already started working with the participants in the world of education, that is, representatives of teachers, parents and trade union experts.

PG: Recently, a prominent topic has been the “Tour de Constitution” – how could it happen that a principal and a particular kindergarten would agree to such a thing?

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Therese: This is a question that I do not know the answer to at the moment, because the censorship activities in these educational institutions are not over yet. Was it an independent decision by the head of the institution or the principal of the school or kindergarten, or was it in implementation of an order issued by the administrative body? I don’t want to make any accusations here because I don’t know the situation. If the results of oversight activities are present, we will certainly present them to the public.

However, this kind of situation unfortunately happens. The change will be supported, for example, by the Education Act Amendment Bill, which the government is currently processing, which would introduce a mechanism for the effective supervision of school principals by educational supervisors so that such situations do not occur in the future. . Today you can suspend the principal for trifles, or even for acting in accordance with the law – for example Lodz and the director of the 34th high school of Mr. Dariush Jakobec, who sees the Ministry of Education and Science, was a victim of political repression, and then I have been notified by the Attorney General’s office of the abuse of his powers by the Vice-President City of Lodz.

On the other hand, we have the so-called gender of teachers entering schools, and the board of trustees cannot do anything in this case except for visits and checks. However, it cannot have any real effects, and such scandalous situations are often reported by the supervisory authorities, and the parents themselves, are angry at the situation, because no parent wants their child to be indoctrinated in school against their will, whether by law , or left. Our proposal, which was included in the bill, concerns that all types of NGOs that will enter schools must obtain approval not only from the governing body, but also from the educational supervisor.

It is the educational supervisor and the entire educational institution that implements the state educational policy, which must ensure the implementation of constitutional guarantees due to parents, as persons responsible for raising their children in accordance with their own beliefs, but also the implementation of the state educational policy, which is based on issues of support for education through the school. The school carries out education in the first place, but it also supports the process of upbringing, supports parents in the upbringing, but it is often the parents who are the deciding factor and this is the purpose of this change in the law.

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PG: The pandemic and nearly 1.5 years of distance learning have undoubtedly contributed to the decline in education. Is there any plan to compensate for this?

TRz: Of course, we’re working on that plan. It is now ready and we will implement it. These are three main programmes. First of all: a support program in those subjects where principals see the greatest needs. We can’t double the number of hours for all classes, because this program will not be achievable even for the big job giants, because the net hours in school are pretty plentiful anyway, so we want to increase 3 hours in these subjects, which, according to the principals, teachers and the teaching board, The largest round-the-clock support is needed to make up for the losses caused by 7 months of distance learning.

Another program concerns real support in making up for deficiencies in physical condition, because the school is not only about learning, but also about fitness and gymnastics for young people. According to the ancient Greek motto “a healthy mind resides in a healthy body”. Extensive training is already underway in physical education academies of physical education teachers, so that they can use the hours of physical education to improve the condition and physical fitness of young people. The last program relates to psychological and educational support and support for the lesion of myopia, low vision in young people, for the rapid diagnosis and application of treatment that reduces the effects of myopia, or for the implementation of appropriate exercises to improve eyesight naturally. Without the need for the intervention of an ophthalmologist.

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