Sunday, 15 January 2012

Plans to Close Hundreds of Schools Met by Protests

It has been estimated that up to 800 schools will be closed in Poland this year, after 300 were shut down in 2011.

The official reason given for the liquidation of schools throughout Poland is the upcoming demographic downturn that will result in a decline in the number of available pupils for these schools. Of course behind this fact lies a debate about whether schools should be provided as a service, even in areas where there are less pupils, or whether they should be run along the lines of profitable businesses.

The most immediate cause of the schools’ closures is the cut in education spending, with the central government decreasing its education spending by 1.4bn złoty this year. Although up to now schools have been closing mainly in rural areas, they are now starting to be shut down in large cities as well.

The closing down of schools has been met by a new wave of protests throughout the country. An occupation of a technical school in Bytom has received the most media attention, with students and parents protesting against the local government’s decision to close down the school. Similar protests have taken place in places such as Wałbrzych.

The protestors have set up a facebook page which has some information about their activities in English.

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