The High School in Grodno with Polish Language of Instruction. Its origin and development
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In 1948 the last schools teaching Polish were closed in the Belorussian SSR for the period of 40 years. Thus, the situation of the Polish minority in Belorussia after the WW II differed completely from that in Lithuania (about 100 schools with the Polish language and the Polish press) and even in Ukraine (two Polish schools in Lvov). The 'perestroika', initiated by M. Gorbachev in the eighties, followed by the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, made possible to revive the national identity of Poles living in the former Soviet Republics. At present there are two Polish schools in the Republic of Belarus, one in Grodno and the other in Volkovysk. Their foundation in 1988-1989 was made possible exclusively due to the attempts of the Polish party, which covered the costs of buildings and equipment. The data submitted by the Polish organisations in the Republic of Belarus show that the number of those learning Polish amounts to about 22 thousand and in the period 1991-2000 the education covered approximately 120 thousand persons. The Polish schools are an important achievement of the Polish communities in Belarus and in the homeland. They stimulate the ties with the homeland and contribute to preserve the national identity of Poles. At the same time the existing folklore groups, making use of elements of Polish and Belorusian culture, are an important factor of ethnical interaction.
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