Kaczyński’s Accusations

July 22, 2014
Pointing the Finger

Pointing the Finger

During one of his recent speeches, Jarosław Kaczyński of Law and Justice (PiS) criticised the Polish economy, healthcare and education systems. According to the PiS head, none of these areas are in a satisfactory condition. Rising unemployment has resulted in mass emigration to highly developed countries where career opportunities are significantly more varied and attainable. Kaczyński also mentioned that Polish healthcare cannot be trusted. Nowadays, it seems that it is more profitable to let seriously ill patients die than help them. He continued saying that the procedures of making appointments are so complicated and time-consuming that many patients have to wait months to visit a specialist. In addition, social assistance is not available to all those who need it. There are thousands of families that do not receive any support from the government and as a result, there is a large number of undernourished children in Poland. In his speech, opposition leader Kaczyński did not forget about the Polish education system and said that educational programmes in Poland need to be entirely reorganised. He said that the issue of textbooks should also be resolved – constantly changing textbooks do not improve the quality of education but only worsen the financial situation of many families. PM Donald Tusk replied to these comments. He claimed that many young people have managed to find well-paid jobs over the last months in Poland, while the level of emigration is now much lower than in 2008. When it comes to the problem of healthcare in Poland, he said that the government is currently working on a new bill that aims at improving all complicated procedures that prevent patients from obtaining the necessary care. Last but not least, he touched upon the issue of social assistance. He explained that the amount of income per family has been raised so as to enable more citizens to receive financial benefits. According to The Economist, Tusk is the one who is correct. As the magazine reports, Poland is treated by most European countries with great respect due to the progress it has made during the global economic crisis.
wyborcza.pl

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Pole Wins Dutch Language Contest

July 7, 2014
(c) theswaggernews.com

(c) theswaggernews.com

Karolina Jagiełło has lived in the Hague for only four years but has already mastered the Dutch language to perfection. Dutch media report that the young Polish girl won a dictation competition for children, organised in the capital of the Netherlands. The girl made only three mistake thus beating the thirty other finalists. She can now holds the title of the “greatest expert on spelling in the Hague”. “I am very surprised and happy,” says the proud 12-year-old. “Spelling and language have never been a problem for me. You just have to concentrate and think,” she adds. Karolina hopes that her victory will change the perception of Polish people in the Netherlands for the better. Her win shows that Polish people can and do speak Dutch. “I feel that through this dictation competition I represent Poland,” said the girl.
rmf24.pl

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Belarusian Bookstore in Warsaw

June 21, 2014
New Bookstore

New Bookstore

A branch of Logvinau, the bookstore, was opened in Belarusian House in Warsaw this week. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was undertaken by bookstore manager Kacyarina Pikerenya and famous Belarusian poet Andrey Hadanovich. In an interview, Kacyarina and Andrej emphasised the significance of the bookstore saying that it will attract book-lovers and bring together people interested in culture. Besides, visitors are not obliged to buy any books and are free to come and read them enjoying the friendly atmosphere of Logvinau. What is more, the book exchange system is used in the bookstore. Although the bookstore is Belarusian, there are also a host of books in many different languages. Kacyarina admitted, “My dream is to open bookstores not only in Warsaw but also in Vilnius and Kiev. We have already fulfilled one of our dreams and soon the new logvinau.by website will also be launched. It will give people the opportunity to order books online and check out our events calendar.” For those interested in buying a book from Logvinau in Warsaw, please contact Maksim Sergiec on +48 691 339 588.
belhouse.org

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Junior High School Results

June 21, 2014
Improving Education?

Improving Education?

Students of the third form of junior high schools, who wrote the compulsory junior high school school exam in April, achieved an average of 68% in the Polish language exam and 47% in Maths. The average score in History was 59%, and 52% in the Natural Sciences (including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geography). Foreign language exam were divided into two levels: basic and advanced. The average score in basic level English was 67%, in German it was 54%, Russian 61%, French 70%, Spanish 66%, and Italian it was 57%. The average score in advanced level English was 46%, German 39%, Russian 41%, French 66%, Spanish 74%, and in Italian it was 69%. This week, Poland’s Central Examination Board published preliminary information about the results achieved this year in the junior high school exam.
Newsweek

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Ukrainian Children Wanted

June 19, 2014
Ukrainian Children Wanted

Ukrainian or Polish Children?

The most depopulated counties in province of Subcarpathia (Podkarpacie) have taken steps to attract young Poles living in Ukraine to Poland. The Tadeusz Kościuszko high school in Lubaczów is offering young Poles living in the Ukraine free sets of student books, a scholarship and subsidised accommodation and board, according to Gazeta Wyborcza. “The counties of Przemyśl and Lubaczów are the most depopulated counties in the province of Subcarpathia. Thankfully, we cannot complain about a lack of candidates for school and this year we have six first-form classes, but we need to think about the future and have therefore begun advertising ourselves in Ukraine,” says Zbigniew Hypiak, the headmaster of the high school in Lubaczów. This offer is addressed to Poles who live in Ukraine and who possess a Polish Card (Karta Polaka), which affords people with Polish roots, who cannot obtain Polish citizenship, certain rights that would otherwise not be available to them.
polska.newsweek.pl

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Polish Homes Worse than Turkey and Brazil

June 17, 2014
Brazilian Favela

Brazilian Favela

Housing conditions in Poland are among the worst of all developed countries, according to a new OECD report. However, Polish people feel safer in Poland than the Swiss do in Switzerland, and when it comes to education, Poland comes a proud second, after Finland. These are just some of the conclusions of the annual “Your Better Life Index 2014″ report by the OECD. It is composed of eleven key areas that define a so-called successful life. The final results are the effect of complex calculations which consist of points granted for each category by internet users from all over the world, as well as indicators chosen for each category by OECD experts. This year’s report involved 36 countries: the 34 members of the OECD and the two main partners of the organisation (Brazil and Russia).
Newsweek

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Polish Literary Success

June 8, 2014
Global Success

Global Success

What is the recipe for success for writing a children’s book in Poland? Writing many titles as well as selling them abroad seems to be the answer; at least for Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński. Last year, the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts graduates sold over 100,000 books in Poland. Their books are also published in many countries including USA and Japan. Their debut “D.O.M.E.K.”, a guide to the world’s most interesting buildings was published in eleven countries and made the Internationale Jugendbibliothek White Ravens list. However, it is not only books that have kept these two on the market. When they were students, they created Hipopotam Studio, and focused on commercial jobs such as making invitations, posters and catalogues. The experience gained from these projects helped them improve the content of their books, and when the income from publishing books became satisfactory, they decided to end their commercial projects. Their latest success is “Maps”, a collection of fifty-one maps. It had sold almost 60,000 copies in Poland, and 120,000 have been printed abroad. In 2013 the book received a prestigious French Prix Sorcières award, and the English version of “Maps” made the New York Times list of the six most interesting and beautiful books for children. Besides books, the Mizielińskis create computer games and apps. They are fully aware that their books will never reach audiences of 100,000 readers a day, like “Pica Pic”, a website that gives hand-held electronic games from the 1980s a second life. They see great potential in this multimedia part of their work. Currently, they have plans for the next three years. This includes both new books and apps.
pierwszymilion.forbes.pl

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Exam Results

June 7, 2014
Scribbling Away

Scribbling Away

Polish sixth grade students scored an average of 25.82 points out of 40 on their end-of-school test. A year ago, the average was 24.03 points. The sixth-grade test checks not only the student’s knowledge but also his or her skills. It is an estimate of the extent to which they have mastered reading, writing, arithmetic, reasoning and the partcular use of information and knowledge in practice. There were twenty-six tasks in this year’s sixth-grade test. Twenty were closed questions, where students could indicate the correct answer from several possibilities. Sixth-graders also had to write their own essay on a given topic. The whole test lasted sixty minutes.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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Manipulation

June 5, 2014
Success

Success

If you think you make rational decisions while shopping, think again. It’s an illusion that may can cost you a lot. Who believes commercials that say: “This washing powder is used by 90% of women in Poland” or, “Buy today, pay tomorrow”? However, survey results show that we are extremely susceptible to these kinds of adverts. During practically every visit to the shopping mall we lose control of our wallets for a few moments. Discovering the sophisticated methods of marketing will not make us entirely resistant but we will be able to understand some of the tricks that are used. It is also important to have a balanced view: not every salesclerk has their customer’s best interest at heart, just as not every salesperson is out to trick us. A visit to the funeral home is similar to going shopping and can lead to both shame and embarrassment, as noted by Slavic sociologist Renata Salecl in her book “The Tyranny of Choice”. In Poland the prices of coffins made of pine or alder begin at PLN 500. However, the advisor will suggest the most expensive one, made from oak, at a price of PLN 2,000. The catalogue also includes different flower arrangements, musicians to play at the ceremony, the size of the obituary in the newspaper, to name some of the choices. You can choose the cheapest option, but then you will see reproach in the clerk’s eyes: if you truly loved the deceased shouldn’t you organise a better funeral? The best defence is to use the same method your funeral adviser uses: be consistent,” advises assertiveness coach Bartłomiej Stolarczyk, “You can say something like this: the deceased valued simplicity and modesty, so they would not approve of splendour and extravagance. I must respect their sense of aesthetics and ideals because I loved them.”
focus.pl

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Helping the Hard of Hearing

June 1, 2014
Helping People

Helping People

In Poland there are approximately half a million deaf people who struggle with getting simple things done at the bank or police station. It is claimed that about 70% of deaf people in Poland have problems understanding written Polish due to its grammar, syntax and the fact that sign language has no written form. Migam.pl is trying to help deaf people overcome barriers and communicate more effectively. The Migam – sign language and technology project has been in development from 2011. “The team has changed over time, but our goal hasn’t: to eradicate barriers in communication. All the services we offer are free of charge for non-business clients; we try to help people with their daily problems. We also issue invoices for institutions and companies who have deaf clients,” says Przemek Kuśmierek, CEO of migam.pl. The Office of the President of Poland was their first major client with the contents of prezydent.pl translated into sign language. Today migam.pl translates for the Polish parliament and in the near future will also be providing services for banks and IT companies. “We are developing our international department and have already established business ties with the USA and India,” says Przemek Kuśmierek.
firma.pb.pl

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