Parents of students of Radinkiliškis district Grinkiškis Jonas Poderis gymnasium. Their representative Jūratė (name is changed) was worried about the future of the gymnasium. “The eleventh and twelfth graders will end this year in Grinkiškis, and next school year the students of two or even four upper grades will have to study in Baisogala. We want the gymnasium to remain in Grinkiškis, ”my mother shared her thoughts. It turns out that it’s not just the fate of this school that has hung on its hair. As soon as a school is taken, the number of classes is reduced and similar pressure is pressed, it does not immediately remain in educational institutions, as happened in Pakalniškės, Tyruliai, Šaukotė, Pašušvi.
Will the children get up at 5 p.m.
The mothers of Grinkiškis gymnasium students were worried that students from some villages still have to get up early. Jūratė’s children leave for school at 7.10. The children of other mothers living in Giedraičiai village also leave at a similar time. In this case, they should get up around 6 p.m. And what if you have to go to Baisogala? Don’t you have to get up at 5 in the morning? After that, the children spend the whole day on their feet and return home only at about 4 p.m. Even beginners, after the lessons, wait for the bus from the first hour until the fourth afternoon. It is 8 km from Giedraičiai to Grinkiškis, and about 20 km from the same village to Baisogala. The parents of the students ask: “Why are the buildings then renovated, repaired, if the schools are then closed and left to their own devices?”
After signing, say say
The interviewed mothers of the students say that someone collected signatures to keep the school in Grinkiškis. Neither who has organized the collection of signatures, nor the request at which they sign, can say clearly. Jūratė said that “the signatures were collected in order to preserve the school”, another mother Rima (name is changed) – “that there would be ten classes in the school next year instead of eight.” do the parents of the students themselves ask to close the school? By the way, this has already happened with the Vaitiekūnai medical point, when the signatures of the residents were presented to the Council, that they themselves are asking to close this medical institution. Asked about such a possibility, the parents just shrugged and said that they would now collect signatures for the gymnasium in Grinkiškės to survive.
The principal advocated the destruction of the gymnasium and its transformation into a basic school
Sigita Šegždienė, the director of Grinkiškis J. Poderis Gymnasium in Radviliškis District, answered that the project regarding the reorganization of schools is being discussed in public. Although the gymnasium currently has 195 children, the school does not meet the requirements of the gymnasium due to the number of students. The average number of students in the two upper grades of the gymnasium should be 15, and there are 14. According to the principal, the number of students should decrease even more in the future. Although, according to the head of the gymnasium, there are currently all the necessary gymnasium specialists in Grinkiškis, S. Šėgždienė’s problems do not see that the status of the educational institution would be changed from a gymnasium to a basic school and students would study only up to ten classes. If we believed in principal, the workload of teachers in basic school would decrease, but the number of posts would remain the same. To believe that no one will be harmed would be too naive, because by reducing the workload, shrinking teachers’ salaries and leaving two or even four grades, teachers will sooner or later lose their jobs.
Children also come from Raseiniai district
Daiva Listauskienė, the chairwoman of the Grinkiškis J. Poderis gymnasium council, said that when Laisvūnas Vaičiūnas, the head of the Education and Sports Department, prepared the change of the gymnasium status to a progymnasium where children would study until the eighth grade, they were in the people. “We do not see any reason why the gymnasium could not remain a basic school. There are enough children for that, ”the teacher of this gymnasium and the mother of the students taught about their expectations about the fate of the school. Asked whether he would not like a gymnasium to remain in Grinkiškės, D. Listauskienė wondered: “A gymnasium could remain as well. We don’t feel worse than other schools nearby. ” She confirmed that signatures are being collected due to the change in school status. This initiative is said to be carried out by class teachers. The daughter of the chairman of the school council is currently ten years old and will be particularly affected by the forthcoming transformation. D. Listauskienė lives in Raseiniai district, Vosyliškis village, which is 8 km away from Grinkiškis. More children up to the village attend the school in Radviliškis district. If they lose the opportunity to attend school in Grinkiškis, they would suffer greatly. They would have to travel a long way to school – about 30 km. You should reach Baisogala or a school in Raseiniai district. Buses leave from this area very early, students should get up before they hit because the road is far away.
Saving money, they began to offer a supposedly better quality of education
By the order of the Director of the Radviliškis District Municipality Administration Jolanta Margaitienė, a working group was formed on the preparation of school network transformation projects for 2021–2025. L. Vaičiūnas, Head of the Education and Sports Department of the Municipal Administration, informed that the reorganization was determined by the small number of students in the III – IV gymnasium classes, which was “irrational and inefficient for the use of state and municipal budget funds”. In the opinion of the Head of the Education and Sports Department, the restructuring of the Grinkiškis J. Poderis Gymnasium until 31 August 2022 is necessary. It is envisaged that the status of a school may be changed to a progymnasium or to a type of basic school. It is said that in this way better quality educational services will be provided. It seems that while saving municipal money, officials did not think about students living in villages, for whom school is becoming easier. For managers to also save money by buying “gold” blocks or installing “gilded” squares, all they have to do is dream.
Is the number of students really out of decline?
Vytautas Simelis, the mayor of Radviliškis district municipality, said that he did not apply to him from the parents of Grinkiškis gymnasium for the reorganization of schools. “Of course, the issues of optimizing the network of educational institutions are important to the community, but if there is a lack of children, if there is no class at school, something needs to be changed. – answered the mayor, asked about the planned transformation in Grinkiškis gymnasium. Whether the mayor will take any steps to preserve the gymnasiums did not specify. It is highly doubtful that instead of 15 in 14 students’ gymnasium classes, the threshold is “no more classes”. According to some parents, such a number of students in the gymnasium is temporary, next year or next this number should increase. According to statistics, the number of preschoolers in the preschool district has been increasing over the past four years, with only 17 children declining in the last school year. The number of children who were taught in pre-school education programs increased or decreased over the five years. From this, it can be concluded that the number of students will continue to decline, probably too early. According to the presented statistical tables, the number of senior students of Grinkiškis J. Poderis Gymnasium should change insignificantly in 2022-2026, and the number of third – fourth grade students in the 2025-2026 school year should even change.
Class reduction – not only in Grinkiškis
The planned transformations will affect other schools as well: by 2022. August 31 The structure of Sidabravas and Grinkiškis J. Poderis gymnasiums will be restructured, changing the type of school from gymnasium to progymnasium (when children under eighth grade will study), and Pociūnėliai basic school should be connected to Baisogala kindergarten and Pociūnėliai branch. Until 2025 August 31 Šiaulėnai Marcelinas Šikšnis Gymnasium may also lose its status and become a progymnasium, and it is planned to connect Alksniupiai Basic School to Šeduva Gymnasium by establishing an Alksniupiai branch.
The chairman of the Education Committee was surprised by the transformation plan
The transformation of education of municipal leaders and planned institutions also surprised Kęstutis Dambrauskas, Chairman of the Culture, Education and Sports Committee of Radviliškis District Council: “In fact, I was very surprised. the transformation had to affect only one school in the district, connecting it to the others. It is now becoming clear that school communities are seeking completely different information. One that even I, as chairman of the education committee, do not know. It may not sound very nice, but it takes the position that one school cannot become a donor to another. ” Asked whether the right rumors were that the quality of education in towns and villages was inferior, K. Dambrauskas expressed doubts: “This can be discussed. After all, teachers work in several schools. I very much doubt that a teacher working at Radviliškis Lizdeika Gymnasium, who went to work at Grinkiškis or Sidabravas Gymnasium, would suddenly start teaching his subject to the students of the town in some other way, so to speak, worse, more forgiving. Definitely not. I think it is wrong to think that the quality of education in a rural school is worse than in an urban one. “
The board member will not support the current restructuring plan
We asked Gediminas Lipnevičius, a member of the Council, what his opinion was about the planned changes in the district school. “Until the parents of the students and the community agree, until this issue is discussed and a consensus is reached, I will certainly not support such a decision to abolish schools. Decisions must be made by bypassing the opinion of the school community – teachers, students, their parents. Education is not the area at the expense of saving, because saving can hurt our future – children, ”noted the non-partisan G. Lipnevičius, expressing the expectation that the school could be preserved.
The draft general plan for the transformation of Radviliškis district schools is expected to reach the Council soon. We will inform about the decisions made by the municipal administration and the Council regarding the district schools in other issues of the weekly “Radviliškio kraštas”.