2010 19/05
Jan Lapicki

Jan Lapicki

Having created a problem, the executive committee has been unable to solve it on its own. At the same time, the administration of Zhodzina town education department has not responded to the request of the parents of Yanka Lapitski who urged it to foster a rapid resolution of the Zhodzina problem in a positive way.

The parents asked to resume full training of their son in gymnasium № 1 of Zhodzina by the end of the 2009-2010 school year and to hold a formal assessment of the student’s academic progress, who because of deprivation of the right to education in the Belarusian language in 2009, still has to study independently.

The latest assessment of Lapitski for the third quarter, still deprived of normal education, which was carried out without the necessary studies, training and consultations, practically on the fly, quite suddenly, 2 days before the end of the quarter, gave the corresponding, predictable negative results. The youth’s academic progress on subjects deteriorated by as much as 2 points and averaged 6.13 points. However the worsening of the progress and the parents’ request to correct the situation by reassessing Yanka raised no concern of the school’s administration and the Chief of Zhodzina town education department. They did not even care to at least by the end of the year provide the schoolboy with the necessary conditions for the full study of the subjects of the gymnasium curriculum and the English-language specialization.

Instead of a supposed legal use of budgetary funds and the guaranteed provision of education in the Belarusian language in Zhodzina Gymnasium № 1 to the Belarusian-language student the officials once again decided to refer to self-designed and approved by the executive committee of Zhodzina documents on the cessation of Yanka’s Belarusian-language training. They once again presented his parents with unacceptable conditions and even tried to formally accuse them of their son’s absence from studies. At the same time, the officials are well aware that the continuation of education in the secondary school with a high-quality curriculum is illegally offered in Russian defying the needs of his parents. Thus, they knowingly violated the right of the citizens of Belarus to the choice of the type and language for teaching of their son in the Belarusian town of Zhodzina made back in 2002.

This means that representatives of the local ruling “vertical” continue to ignore the Belarusian Constitution and the right of the parents to choose education. The officials in fact continue to force citizens to abandon their own, guaranteed by law and the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, choice, the right to teach their son in his mother tongue and under a quality high school curriculum. Thus, continuing to blackmail the parents of Yanka, they intimidate them with administrative responsibility and argue that they interfere with the training of their son.

In particular, the director of Gymnasium № 1 in his response to the request of the Belarusian- speaking citizens to resume the education of their son once again tells them about something else and in a different language: “By hindering the learning of your son, you are violating Article 17 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus of November 19, 1993 № 2570-XII “On the Rights of the Child” and Articles 3 and 51 of the Law of October 29, 1991 № 1202-XII “On Education”.

It seems that neither the parents’ choice nor their explanations, requests, attitudes and beliefs, nor reference to the officials’ negligence of law and the requirements of the Basic Law of Belarus, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is perceived by the representatives of the education system and the executive branch as worth being attended to, mandatory or significant to be taken into account for the settlement of the artificially created problem.

Alaksiej Lapicki

Alaksiej Lapicki

Aliaksei LAPITSKI’s commentary:

– Instead of a constructive solution to the issue in the constitutional field on the basis of law the officials have openly ignored the conscious solidarity freedom of choice of our family, our position as subjects of civil and international law on human rights. The authorities are deliberately and purposefully continuing to exert pressure on our Belarusian-speaking family – they force us (the citizens of Belarus) to abandon our native Belarusian language under threat of impediments to education of our son Yanka. As an alternative, we are proposed independent studies or in another (non-existent in the region) Belarusian language educational institution (!?).

– Meanwhile everyone is well aware that to study independently at a high school level, especially with a specialization in English (which requires appropriate communication with the teacher) is impossible. They and many of those who consider themselves “true Belarusians” and consume “true” ideology patterns and stereotypes of thinking neither understand the position of the Lapitskis, nor their explanations and the severity of the problem in general. Hence, there are mocking suggests to send our son to a boarding school, or to go to live and study in a Belarusian village, or simply – to study independently at home (in a sense – on individual plans). But this can not be a viable alternative and appropriate choice for the Belarusian-speaking student and his parents, who have both national pride and dignity.

– It is obvious that you can not get good results in learning when the student is artificially deprived of quality teaching at the appropriate high school level and after a two-day blitz of consultations is immediately assessed under consistently high high-school criteria. The latest certification only confirmed this logic conclusion.

But instead of admitting that the damage which is forced against the pupil and his parents, the damage created by obstacles in teaching in Belarusian, instead of stopping pressure and the use of “appropriate standards” of budget funds for their intended purpose – on full-scale training of the schoolboy – the school administration and Zhodzina education department decided to use this factor as an additional lever of exert pressure on the Belarusian-speaking parents.

It can be stated that the high officials of the current government, both in Zhodzina and in Minsk, responsible for education even in these circumstances do not intend to fulfill their job responsibilities to ensure the realization of the rights of Belarusian-speaking citizens of Zhodino to the choice of type and language of education for their children, to receive this education in dignity and quality.

The information about the existing programs by the Ministry of Education on the expansion of the Belarusian language in the educational institutions of Belarus is widely ignored.

In such circumstances, when education officials in the regions of Belarus have actually been sabotaging the implementation of this long-term program that provides for targeted establishment in every town and district of alternative high-quality educational institutions or Belarusian departments in the existing high schools, colleges, schools with Russian language … and the higher officials even encourage these destructive processes, it is not surprising that such discrimination of Belarusian-speaking citizens citing budgetary constraints becomes a pretext to avoid implementation of their own program.

It is done in order to simply do nothing, citing the unpopularity of Belarusian in Belarus, the lack of willingness of parents to teach their children in Belarusian.

However, in the conditions of such a disrespectful attitude of the authorities to the language, to the citizens and their inalienable rights under the constitutional and universally recognized international standards, to such self-promoted documents as the above-mentioned program … one cannot count on the massive activity of parents in the near future.

Sviatlana Lapickaja

Sviatlana Lapickaja

Sviatlana Lapitskaya’s remarks:

– Knowing that for parents and students it is important to have a real (not paper) stable state guarantees and support for the priority of the native language for all types of education at all levels, quality state curricula and well-trained teaching staff … the local departments of education in the regions as well as the main administration and the Ministry of Education, as exemplified by Zhodzina, conversely, do not seek to do so.

With only one purpose, to do nothing (not to perform their own program, the expansion of the native language in the education system) the officials have chosen another tactics, contrary to law and the needs of citizens.

They simply without creating any real quality and favourable educational sites, which would recruit pupils or students, offer the parents to choose between exclusively Russian-language educational and training curricula.

In such unprecedented absence of any proposals and options for high-quality Belarusian-language training (for Belarusian-speaking citizens), we cannot hope for a miracle – that these citizens would somehow mobilize themselves and apply to the “bosses” for opening an extra Belarusian-language class.

Aliaksei LAPITSKI:

– Indeed, people are trying to find for their children quality educational and stable platforms that would ensure a comfortable and effective learning with projected potentials for further continuation of the chosen type and language of education.

What is proposed today in Zhodzina as an alternative to secondary school education for Belarusian-speaking citizens, who demand respect for their choice is nothing but an open coercion to Russian-speaking education in a system of completely monopolized Russian-language education in the region.

And it is not at all an alternative for Belarusians in Belarus, but a cynical mockery of the Basic Law of the State, the civil law and Belarus in general.

Ales Volny,

Belarusian Legal Portal,


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