Required signatures for education reform referendum collected
March 21, 2017
Poland's teachers' labor union ZNP gathered 500,000 signatures under a motion to the Sejm lower house for a referendum on the planned education reform, ZNP head Slawomir Broniarz told a news briefing.
On January 10 President Andrzej Duda decided to sign the embattled education system reform bill liquidating middle schools and reintroducing a former eight + four system.
The changes are contested by ZNP which plans to hold a referendum on the issue.
Opposition parties Civic Platform (PO), Nowoczesna, Razem, Inicjatywa Polska, trade union OPZZ and various civic groups declared their support for the idea of referendum.
The planned reform has already sparked conflicts between some schools, local governments and regional authorities.
Critics say that the government-authored reform will be introduced without any social consultations, will introduce chaos to schools and will destroy the achievements of the educational system of the recent years.
Under the education reform, starting from the 2017/2018 school year, Poland is to return to its previous system of eight-year elementary schools followed by four-year high schools or five-year technical schools.
Currently, children in Poland attend a six-year primary school, followed by a three-year lower secondary school (middle school) and a three year upper secondary school. The system was introduced in 1999.