In Holyrood, the minister for learning and languages is considering the recommendation that the language should be offered to schoolchildren together with Spanish and French, which is the standard modern language suite that is currently included in the elementary levels.
Offered in community schools
At the moment the language is offered to qualification level via 17 community-run Saturday schools only. In Edinburgh, the Dalry Primary and Drummond Community High are the only schools offering Polish in their afternoon classes.
The report being considered by the learning and languages minister, Alasdair Allan was commissioned by the cross-party group on Poland, which is based in Holyrood. According to the report, the network of Polish schools run by the community would be easy to adapt.
The report being considered is a highly credible one. It was prepared by Dr. Anna Martowicz and Dr. Andrew Roach. Dr. Martowicz is the program coordinator at the Edinburgh Frederic Chopin Polish Center for Culture and Education. She is also a linguist and a teacher of the Polish language. Dr. Roach has published and taught Polish history and is currently a Glasgow University senior lecturer in history.
High number of Polish students
It is estimated by academics that about 12,000 students of Polish descent are enrolled in Scottish nurseries and schools in the country, with Edinburgh having the most number of students, followed by Glasgow, Aberdeen and by Kinross and Perth.
Local city officials are also urging for the immediate implementation of the plan to include Polish in the school curriculum. Jean Urquhart stated that the Polish people are already involved in all facets of Scottish society and felt that they have not fully recognized their growth all over Scotland. She added that it would boost their morale knowing that their language is being recognized.
Growing importance in the community
The inclusion of the language in the school curriculum would open up many opportunities for young Scottish and Polish people, according to the Polish Consul General, Dariusz Adler. It could help Poland’s new green energy industry, which has the potential to expand but lacks the expertise that Scotland has. He said that the commissioned report contains facts on what can be done and offered in terms of educating the children in the language as well as its impact on the education system in Scotland.
Labor MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, Mark Lazarowicz added that today in England, the children of Polish immigrants are allowed to sit in GCSE and A-level examination in Polish and the uptake is increasing. He said that it is only right that the children of Polish heritage who live in Scotland receive the same opportunities as their contemporaries in England.
The core of the recommendation is for Polish language classes to be available within the school system in Scotland, with the qualifications in the Polish language to be introduced at the National 4 and 5 and higher school levels.