Updated at 14:58,21-10-2016

Polish officials not allowed to enter Belarus

22-10-2012, 15:11
Polish officials not allowed to enter Belarus

Four representatives of the Ministry of Education of Poland have been denied Belarusian visas.

They planned to participate in the Second Polish Language Education Forum which was held in Baranavichy.

They were not given reasons for the visa refusal, Narodnaya Volya newspaper reports.

Representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Education didn't find it necessary to take part in the event. They authorised two senior officials of the Baranavichy education department to visit the forum. The officials listened to speakers, but kept silence.

However, even if they wanted, they could hardly have explained why Belarus refuses to issue visas and forbid native Polish teachers to work.

"My department and I personally held negotiations on agreements on education with two countries this year. I reached an understanding with Kazakhstan. We have a draft agreement, which details are being discussed now. The second country was Belarus. We visited Minsk and agreed on 18 out of 20 provisions. For example, a provision on sending Polish teachers to Belarusian schools is under discussion. We wait for the Belarusian side to give a response to our proposals on the issue," Brestskaya Gazeta quotes Jacek Multanowski, the deputy director of the public and cultural diplomacy department of the Polish MFA.

"It's important for us that the people who learn Polish in Belarus can have the opportunity to hear the real Polish language, without dialects and local accents. Belarusian teachers are unable to give it however much they may want," says Leszek Szerepka, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Poland to Belarus.

The head of the Baranavichy city education department could scarcely answer why Polish teachers are not allowed to enter Belarus.

It also was outside her competence to explain the situation with textbooks: Belarus still has not printed textbooks in Polish on a number of exact and natural sciences.

We remind that article 50 of the Constitution of Belarus says that "the State shall guarantee the freedom to choose the language of upbringing and instruction". But the Forum showed that the people choosing education in Polish for their children will face problems.