Two comments on the article What sluggish Britain can learn from Poland by Emma Duncan in The Times, 30 July 2021.
The author is trying to push fairy tales, having no knowledge and experience of the educational system in Poland.
“The children of middle-class people in our town go to technical schools,” says Anne Applebaum, an American historian married to a Polish politician. “There’s no shame in it.”
A. Applebaum is an unreliable narrator. She sent her sons to Eton. She is married to Radek Sikorski, a politician tied to Communist military intelligence. He was arranged an entry to U. of Oxford by Zbigniew Pełczyński, an Oxford don. ZP was later awarded the Order of the White Eagle in Poland for his services to the Polish (Communist) ruling class.
I have a PhD in Physics from the University of Florida in US. My parents were prisoners of Communist concentration camps. I am married to Małgorzata Głuchowska, academy-educated excellent pianist and piano teacher, granddaughter of Aleksander Głuchowski, who was prisoner of Soviet camps in 1940-41, later fought with the Allies on the western front and was imprisoned by Communists again, upon return to Poland in 1947. I was the only faculty member at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań with a western PhD. I was denied normal participation in teaching duties, being sidelined to teaching computer-related courses. I had to bring my own laptop to work. They wouldn’t buy me one. I was bullied, harassed, humiliated.
Our daughter was attacked in her elementary school in a coordinated campaign. My wife and I were fired in 2015.
Correction: Pełczyński was awarded the order of Polonia Restituta in 2014, second-highest civilian order in Poland.
My second comment.
‘Poland is now nearly three-quarters as rich as Britain […] if recent trends persist, Poland will be more prosperous than Britain by 2030.’
3/4 as rich? Nonsense. No, it won’t. Position of power, privilege, and well-paying job are distributed by the same ruling class, as before 1990, next generation. Statistics can be manipulated at will.
The author praised the educational system. People controlling this system make sure that power remains in the hands of the same ruling class. Grades were falsified at the university, where I worked. Law was broken at exams at the school of music, where my pianist wife was employed. Our daughter was targeted in schools and treated with contempt. University authorities systematically sabotaged my attempts at equal treatment of all students in a manner similar to western universities. They made the point of applying pressure to raise grades of selected students. Sometimes they cancelled my class without notifying me.
The procedure of my professional advance was sabotaged as well. It was delayed, procedural traps were set up . The law was violated and nobody cared. Poland is a lawless country.
Falsehoods and lies are part and parcel of the system. Rules and honesty are nonexistent. This was demonstrated to me countless times. Ethical standards and social norms are broken whenever they stand in the way of the ruling class.