„Wiedza jest drugim słońcem dla tych, którzy ją posiadają.” Heraklit z Efezu
Gymnasium in Český Těšín

History of Polish high school in Český Těšín.

Polish ethnic minority in the Czech Republic has established two high secondary schools the first in a town of Orłowa and the second in a town of Český Těšín. These both educational institutions have separate histories yet have much in common especially in the second half of the 20th century.

Official name of school Gimnazjum z Polskim Językiem Nauczania (i.e. the high school with Polish teaching language) gives the idea of Polish ethnic presence in the Czech Republic. Our school is in the centre of cross-cultural influences; it is in a geographical part called Silesia – a vast country with a rich historical past. All students of our school belong to the Polish minority and all of them want to receive their education in their mother tongue: Polish language. It is a higher secondary school for students from 16 to 19. The education in this school lasts four years and ends with a state exam organized and supervised by Czech state. In the school Czech language is also taught on equal basis like Polish.

It is worth mentioning that in some academic publications this part of Silesia which lies in the Czech Republic is called Zaolzie or the Czech Silesia. 

In 1909 the first Polish secondary school was founded in a coal mine region in a town Orłowa. It was a school organized and led by a board of parents and teachers who wanted to provide a quality education in Polish to large masses of working class for affordable fees or scholarships.

Young people from Cieszyn region attended schools in Cieszyn where education was mostly in German and rarely in Polish.

In 1938 the Polish community in Czechoslovakia received the governmental decree to open higher secondary school in the building of Czech higher secondary school at Frydecka Street. Yet the headmaster of Polish classes was a Pole Mr Henryk Bolek. Unfortunately the Second World War ended the existence of these schools.

As soon as 17 September 1945 a new school year in the building of the same Czech higher secondary school at Frydecka Street began. Although in the Czech school the Polish classes had its own head master: it was Henryk Bolek. Polish community worked hard to establish its own independent higher secondary school; the school reform of 1949/50 led up to a creation of one independent Polish minority school at Havliczek street. The school reform of that time made all education of children from 7 to 19 in one school. The existing secondary school at Havliczek street was modernized and enlarged and a new headmaster became Mr Antoni Zahraj. In 1968 another reform introduced 4 year higher secondary school and the school remained in the same building of secondary school at Havlicek street where it exists till today.

In 1964 both Polish schools (Orłowa and Český Těšín) were unified under one headmaster and leadership transferred to Český Těšín; in that time there were 11 classes in of Český Těšín and 8 in Łazy-Orłowa.

In 1991 construction of a new part of the school in of Český Těšín began with a large support of Czech and Polish governments.

 Headmasters of the school: Henryk Bolek 1949-1953, Antoni Zahraj 1953-1970, Jan Kowala 1970-1984, Bogdan Kisza 1984-1996, Alojzy Kufa 1996-2001, Krystyna Herman 2001-2011, Andrzej Bizoń 2011-


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