Improving the legal awareness of citizens, especially of young people, is one of the priorities which the Ministry of Justice has followed for more than three years – said today the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, Mr Wojciech Węgrzyn, during the inauguration of the project “School education against legal exclusion”.The conference, organized in Warsaw, was also attended by Mr Karsten Klepsvik – the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Poland.
The Ministry of Justice, alone or with partner institutions, has undertaken a number of activities, aimed at equipping young Poles with the basic practical legal knowledge and introducing them to the principles of legal order.
- The most important projects implemented so far include among others lessons of law conducted pro bono by legal practicioners (judges, solicitors, legal counselors). Such lessons – carried out on the basis of the agreements with partner institutions – have been organized for more than three years – said during the conference Deputy Minister Wojciech Węgrzyn.
At this point it is worth recalling that the new partner of the Ministry of Justice in this respect is the General Prosecutor’s Office. The lessons have enjoyed great popularity, not only among teachers, but – more importantly for us – the students themselves.
The success of existing activities encouraged the department of justice to explore further innovative opportunities to increase knowledge of law among young people. That is why we have decided to apply for funds from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
- The Norwegian side has shared our enthusiasm, appreciated the experience and efforts put in the legal education of youth. And that is why today we are launching the project “School education against legal exclusion” – stressed during the meeting Deputy Minister Wojciech Węgrzyn.
The project consists in organization of one-day workshops in 150 secondary and 150 post-secondary schools across Poland. Total number of participants will amount to 9000. The project has attracted a great interest. 990 schools responded to the Ministry’s invitation. Of these, 150 secondary and 150 post-secondary schools were selected.
The aim of the workshops will be to equip pupils with practical knowledge of the organization and functioning of the judiciary, as well as the rights and obligations of witnesses and crime victims. Most importantly, the scope of workshops goes beyond the existing core curriculum. The workshops will differ from standard classes. Innovative training methods will be used. Students will be able to take part in quizzes, games and play genre scenes. One element of the meetings will be also a courtroom trial simulation, during which young people will have a chance for a while to become a judge, prosecutor or another party to legal proceedings.
The project will be implemented within 2 years. The awarded grant equals to more than 2 million Polish zlotys (exactly 2 585 742,16 PLN).
- I am convinced that our efforts will contribute not only to fostering the legal awareness of our youth, but also to teaching young people proper, civic attitude toward law and justice institutions – said Undersecretary of State Wojciech Węgrzyn. The first results will probably be seen in a relatively short time, the main – after years, in adult life of today’s students. We believe that legal education of young people is an investment in the future. Investment highly profitable – citizens aware of their rights but also knowing their obligations – the Deputy Minister summarized the meeting.