KO MPs on Friday criticized a government project called the “Academic Freedom Package”. In their view, the solutions proposed there would turn universities into a “Hyde Park”, where, for example, anti-vaccine or Holocaust deniers would be able to freely express their opinions.
Przemyslav Ksarnik, head of the “MEiN” organization, responded to the criticism by KO party deputies on Friday. “Lying is all you have left. The right to express religious and philosophical beliefs and beliefs is constitutional and will be served by the Academic Freedom Package. Scientific opinions are subject to scientific review – the Freedom Package does not regulate this” – the minister wrote on Twitter.
It concerns the MEiN Higher Education and Science Amendment Bill, which aims to ensure that the expression of religious, philosophical or philosophical beliefs by academic teachers does not constitute a disciplinary offence. The project is referred to as the “Freedoms Package” or “Academic Freedom Package”. It will be read first in the House of Representatives next week.
The assumptions of the government’s proposal worry the civil coalition. Former Education Minister Christina Zommillas assessed at Friday’s press conference that the project limits the independence of universities, deans and the scientific community to determine what lecturers and students can talk about at universities. “We went through the consultation process and it turned out that all opinions received by the Minister of Education about this project are negative,” KO’s deputy added.
KO Club Vice President Barbara Novaka estimated that Przemysław Czarnek was a “big mistake in the entire education system”. “His constant provocations and attacks on schools, youth and teachers, only harm the education system, education, science and higher education” – said the deputy.
She expressed the view that the project prepared by MEiN would make the university a “Hyde Park”. “Imagine a historical section in which a lecturer denies the Holocaust; imagine a medical section where a vaccine control worker teaches students how vaccines can be harmful. Imagine the physics sections where the lecturer comes and tells you that lightning was sent by Zeus. .
She also added, according to the proposed solutions, “a former lecturer may express any stupidity”, and the university does not have the right to punish him, because – as she said – he will be dealt with by a special committee in MEiN. “And since Minister Czarnek’s opinions are so strong, it is easy to expect that every stupidity, insult or something unscientific can be preached quietly in universities” – warned the deputy KO.
Another vice president of the KO club, Katarzyna Lubnauer, accused the MEiN chief of not responding when police entered the Warsaw University of Technology in December last year during protests after the Constitutional Court ruling on the so-called. Anti-abortion law. “Mr. Czarnik agreed that Ms. Nowak (Secretary of Education in Malopolska, Barbara Novak – PAP) regularly attacks, for example, the actions of the Jagiellonian University” – noted the MP.
The MEiN project also imposes an obligation on university presidents to ensure that the university respects freedom of teaching, freedom of expression, research and the dissemination of their findings. This should also apply to academic debate organized by members of the university community, in line with the principles of pluralism in the world and the regulations of the university system.
The bill would allow the dean to take disciplinary action against an academic teacher. However, the Rector’s decision to issue an order from the disciplinary spokesperson to initiate the case will be challenged, and will be considered by the Ministry of Education and Science’s Disciplinary Committee.
However, the possibility of filing a complaint against the decision of the university president will be limited only to cases where the matter covered by the decision is related to the expression of religious, philosophical or philosophical beliefs by an academic teacher.
The KO MPs also stated that their club’s motion to dismiss Przemysław Czarnek will be considered at next week’s session of the House of Representatives. The Education, Science and Youth Committee is due to give its opinion on the proposal on Tuesday, then on Wednesday the House of Representatives will deal with it in plenary.
PAP – Science in Poland, Marta Rawicz