OTHER LOCAL THEMES
culture and customs
introducing the area
quotes about education
key testimonies featuring education
Access to education is not a recent phenomenon in Poland, so it does not represent the powerful force for social change that it does in the other highland communities on this website. Nevertheless, the political upheavals experienced in central Europe over the last 50 years, and the shifting borders of this particular area, not surprisingly affected education systems. One narrator remembered that before the Second World War there were many more schools in the area, then part of Germany: "it was different from what it is now, in each village there was a school. And now we don't have a school in Poreba, in Wyszki there's no school .". Several of the professional people who sought refuge in the area from political and other stresses in the 70s and 80s comment on the limitations of local education facilities. Some who place a high premium on education feel obliged to send their children elsewhere at secondary level, while an artist who has set up a small academy for local children is critical of the rote learning and unimaginative approach of the schools.
When war broke out in 1939, many narrators, wherever they were living, found their education was dramatically curtailed. Those Germans who stayed in the Klodzko Valley after the war had to switch to the Polish system: "I continued my education in a Polish school.... We didn't speak Polish, and so we ran away from school, sometimes even through the windows. The teacher did speak German, but he wouldn't translate. You know, we wanted to learn but the teacher wouldn't translate, so we ran away from class". History was potentially a contentious subject in schools. One woman, who spent her childhood barely surviving in a Russian camp, remembers her anger at the lessons on Russian history that her own daughter was taught.
quotes about education
""And my daughter.she had to learn Russian, it was obligatory, she went to a secondary technical school in Wroclaw, and a Russian woman taught them Russian, and she said how well it was that the [Russians] liberated us, and all that.... and so my daughter couldn't stand it any more and she stood up during the lesson of Russian, and she said it wasn't true. "My mother spent six years there and came back a poor child", she said, "and she was hungry and bare-foot all the time." And she was summoned later on, and was rebuked.... but they didn't teach them proper history then, they gave them lies, cause they couldn't tell the truth...." "
Anonymous, F/67, housewife, Poland 5
""[After the war] most people were newcomers from various parts of the country, and the level of teaching wasn't high. The teachers were Polish, and I've got a feeling they were dedicated to their profession. The winter of 1946/47 was very severe, and our teacher took us to her home to do the material - we did two years in one year. There was no fuel in the school, so we went to the teacher's. And nobody asked about any money, there were no strikes.""
Romuald, M/67, pensioner, Poland 25
""I even had to stay two years in the sixth grade because I hated ideological stuff thrown into education. In the 1950s, they introduced those examinations to be held in grade 6 and grade 7.... [The teachers] said I was a social enemy and that . I acted against the school.... But I didn't care about it then.... But then I got to hate the system so much that later on, when I was an adolescent. I had problems because of that as well.""
Jan, M/60, former baker/hunter, Poland 12
""Yes, a lot of progress was made in the 1950s, 1960s - people had access to education, it was unbelievable, nothing to compare with what it was like before the war...." "
Stanislaw, M/86, army officer, Poland 15
""The point is, [local schools] don't offer anything. They offer a lot of lessons, rote learning. Which means if [you] learn something [that] they told you to learn, you get a good mark and that's all there is to it." "
Ewa, F/39, artist, Poland 46