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Another victory of national minorities’ schools’ communities

After a long battle for the education of national minorities in Lithuania, after strikes, rallies, Holy Masses, and lawsuits, the Lithuanian Seimas has adopted amendments to the Law on Education postponing the need to obtain accreditation for high schools for two years.

Schools of national minorities are scoring their first successes on the court way of asserting their rights to pursue educational activities. As previously reported, Vilnius Adomas Mickevičius Gymnasium won the trial with the Council of the Vilnius City this summer: the Lithuanian court has suspended the validity of the controversial resolution of the Vilnius City Council on the prohibition of completion of 5th grades in this Polish educational institution as of the new academic year.

Currently, Lithuanian courts rule in cases concerning the possibility of continuing the educational mission by 6 schools of national minorities in Vilnius, i.e. the possibility of continuing education at the level of 1-12th grades. There are several schools in Vilnius fighting for this possibility: Vilnius Simono Konarskio Secondary School, Vilnius Levo Karsavino Secondary School, Vilnius Lazdynų Secondary School, Vilnius Centro Secondary School, Vilniaus Aleksandro Puškino Secondary School. The community of the Vilnius Joachimo Lelevelio Secondary School has another problem – it is fighting for the preservation of its building in Antakalnis.
Last week the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court adopted a judgment favourable for Polish Vilnius Simono Konarskio Secondary School and the applicants have received the official decision of the court last Tuesday. The school and parents sued the resolution of the Vilnius City Council of 15th July 2015 and a resolution of 29th July 2015, under which it was decided to demote the status of the school to primary school, what would mean the elimination of 11-12th grades.

Parents of the pupils of Vilnius Simono Konarskio Secondary School mentioned in their complaint, that the elimination of 11-12th grades would mean for their children the inability to continue learning in the school. This would definitely affect the results of their matriculation examinations. Moreover, the pupils would have to change schools, what would not be easy having in mind the short period of time left before the start of the new academic year.

The court upheld the arguments of parents and suspended the validity of the resolutions of the Council of Vilnius City, therefore the Vilnius Simono Konarskio Secondary School will remain a 12-year-old educational institution for at least 2 years.

Further rulings in similar cases will follow in the near future. There are huge chances that another decisions will also be favourable for other schools and their communities.