Almost 4 thousand schools in Poland have ethics classes. Not only schools in big cities provide them but also small village ones – even if there is only 1 volunteer student to participate.Students from Social Schools Complex in Poznań really like the ethics classes. Among the voivodship cities, that’s where the biggest increase of schools which provide such classes has been noticed. In comparison to 2014, there are 54 more schools. In 2012 there were only 13 out of 130. Now, 91 schools from Poznań have ethics classes.
76 students attend ethics classes (one out of four) in our primary school – says Krystian Karcz – teacher from Social Schools Complex in Poznań – When I started working there, the headmaster warned me that these classes might be individual due to lack of students, but now we have so many volunteers that we have to create additional groups. There are many parents who consciously signed their children up for ethics classes. They know how important it is to develop the so called soft skills. Children face many moral problems every day. Solving them requires more than just motivation to be good and knowledge of the Decalogue.
The biggest number of schools with ethics taught is in Warsaw – 318 schools (20 more than last year) and in Łódź – 125 (11 schools appeared this year). Białystok (76) and Cracow (55) are also among the leaders. There are 13 schools more where you can study ethics.
However, there are also cities where the number of schools with ethics hasn’t grown. Students from Rzeszów are in the most difficult situation. There are only 5 schools which provide ethics classes there.
From spring 2014 every school has to provide ethics classes even if there is only 1 student willing to learn. At the same time, when there are more than 3 volunteers, the headmaster might suggest interschool classes. In Katowice, for example, the authorities have chosen 5 locations for that. Unfortunately, travelling to another location effectively discourages students to attend classes.
My son was offered to participate in ethics classes in another school. We didn’t know who would take care of him during the commute. We gave up – says Agnieszka, mother of a 9-year-old student from Śląsk.
Situation looks better in smaller towns where there is only 1 school – authorities can’t have any excuses. If there are volunteers, there will be classes. That’s what happened in a village school near Grudziądz, where Joanna’s children attend. There are only two 6-year-old students at the ethics class. There are no problems. They have even organised classes at 8am.
In the 2014/15 school year ethics classes were available in over 3.1 thousand schools – twice as many as before the law was changed. According to the Ministry of Education, now there are more than 3.9 thousand schools with ethics. We can find the exact list on the etykawszkole.pl website.
Ethics is the most popular in primary schools. However, we have to remember that the decision about attending the classes is usually made by parents. The older the students get, the more pressure they put on their parents not to sign them neither on religion nor on ethics classes.
Parents whose children attend ethics usually engage themselves in the “Secular school” action. Its iniciators want the church or parents to fund the catechists’ sallaries (that’s nearly 1.4 billion złoty a year). This act of law project will be handled by the lower chamber of the Polish parliament. 150 thousand people have signed the draft. The situation might change within the next 6 months.