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Page Title

JacekStrzemieczny

Country, Date of election

Poland 1998

Field

Education

Jacek Strzemieczny jako pedagog wykorzystuje decentralizację rządu (po roku 1989), by po raz pierwszy w najnowszej historii Polski samorządy zostały odpowiedzialne za zarządzanie szkołami. Poprzez swoją projekty edukacji obywatelskiej ułatwia on otwarty dialog pomiędzy lokalnymi urzędnikami, dyrektorami szkół podstawowych i ich najważniejszymi klientami – uczniami.

Problem

Despite the numerous changes in Poland since 1989, very little has changed in the Polish education system. Schools retain a heavy emphasis on traditional curricula and rigid student-teacher relationships. They operate within a hierarchical structure, and there is little or no concept of student rights. According to Jacek, there are about 500,000 teachers in Poland and approximately ten million students. As part of the reforms of the new regime, local governments for the first time have been given control over their communities’ schools, which had previously been administered by the central government. However, running the schools (which were badly in need of investment) will require 30 to 50 percent of their budgets, and they are ill-prepared for the task. As a result, many local politicians view the schools as financial burdens and fail to see the benefits of a locally controlled school system which can more easily respond to the unique needs of a community.

Idea

Jacek Strzemieczny, himself an educator, is taking advantage of recent government decentralization that for the first time in modern Polish history has made local governments responsible for managing their own school systems. Through his civic education project he facilitates an open dialog between local officials, school administrators, and their primary clients – the students. Now, for the first time, students and their parents are participating in the formulation of school programs and curricula. Jacek believes that as young people are engaged in the shaping of their own schools, they will begin to learn about the concept of self-directed local government which is relatively new to Poland. Their participation in the democratic process will help to secure Poland fledgling democracy and contribute to the development of the country civil society. In addition, teachers are learning new methods. His work is transforming schools, which are becoming newly responsive to the unique needs of their communities.

Motivation

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