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The appointment ceremony of Przemysław Czarnek as the new Minister of Education and Science took place at 8.30 a.m. in the Presidential Palace. Only 10 people were present, including the President, Prime Minister, the head of the President's Chancellery, and members of the media staff.

Błażej Spychalski, the President’s spokesperson, explained in Polsat News that the limited attendance was due to the current sanitary regime. The appointment of Mr. Czarnek had to be postponed. Initially, it was supposed to take place on October 5, but the Law and Justice MP tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mr. Czarnek informed the public about his infection on Twitter only after having visited his grandmother at the hospital. As "Wyborcza" reported two weeks ago, Czarnek was admitted to the hospital despite a general ban on visits, thus exposing others to a potential risk of infection.

President Duda: Educating citizens is a challenging task

- I’d like to thank the minister for taking on this very difficult task- said President Andrzej Duda after the ceremony. - Each of these ministries concerns our youth. Their upbringing. The future of our Republic. And yet, we have known for hundreds of years that "such are countries, as is the education of their youth”. It is an issue of utmost importance – the President added, quoting a historical figure, Jan Zamoyski.  He also emphasized that this new combination of ministries following the recent government reshuffle creates "a chance to better coordinate educational processes".

- The decision to merge the ministries of education and science will contribute to the development of Poland and help us build a system to better prepare the next generations to live in Poland so that our country can develop. I’m convinced that many more people will be devoted to serving the Republic of Poland thanks to their education and upbringing - the President pointed out.

The President also said that "there are parents who are worried about some of the content in our education curricula”. He then recalled his signature project "Parents decide," which is awaiting the first reading in the Parliament. - Parents have the right to keep their children safe. There is freedom of opinion in Poland, but it should not be one-sided - he said. He further stated that educational programs need to be improved to serve the "Republic of our dreams"- a project which the late President Lech Kaczynski, among others, has tried to accomplish.

- In a country where there is freedom of beliefs and freedom to practice science, attacking views that are different from those of the liberal-left should not take place – he stressed. - Other than verifying the value of the reform carried out at our universities, which has both its proponents and critics, I would ask that the real freedom of scientific research be ensured at Polish higher education facilities. People with different views must not be destroyed. There is no such thing as absolutely rightful views.

Protests against Czarnek’s appointment

Merging the ministries of education and science has been one of the elements of the recent government reshuffle. It resulted in reducing the number of ministries from 20 to 14. Mr. Czarnek’s nomination has met with a strong reaction. Experts, members of the opposition, and students protested against the decision. Demonstrations against his nomination were held in many cities around the country.  Only last week, members of the Federation of Young Socialists and the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) picketed in Wrocław, Puławy, Lublin, and other cities. "STOP destroying education", "Education, don't trample", "NO to Czarnek"- said some of the signs held by the protesters.

"To solve the problems surrounding education, starting tomorrow, we will have a minister who has no previous experience in managing educational institutions, has not been professionally involved in education, and has no preparation in crisis management. It is called an innovative approach" –Iga Kazimierczyk, president of the Room for Education Foundation (Przestrzeń dla Edukacji), commented on Twitter.

What caused such strong reactions? As the governor of Lublin, Mr. Czarnek took part in a demonstration organized by the National Radical Camp (ONR) commemorating the “Cursed Soldiers” – a controversial anti-communist resistance movement. He became known for his homophobic comments during this year’s presidential campaign. – These people are inferior to normal people. We should finally stop listening to these moronic statements about human rights and all that equality nonsense – he said in July during a political talk-show aired on public TV. "Let's end the discussion about these LGBT abominations, homosexuality, bisexuality, equality parades”- he urged on another occasion.

Jakub Urbanik, a professor at the University of Warsaw, filed a lawsuit against Przemyslaw Czarnek for the infringement of personal rights. Prof. Urbanik demands an apology aired on the Polish state broadcaster TVP and PLN 20.000 transferred to the "Love Does Not Exclude Association"- a Polish NGO protecting and promoting LGBT-rights.

The new Minister of Education also believes that "an attack against family is an attack against women, and that's what feminism is there for". – To destroy the traditional family model, you first have to target women, because a woman’s function in the family is absolutely irreplaceable – Mr. Czarnek said during one of his lectures. - And how do you go about destroying the family? You tell a woman: you don't have to do it, you're just like a man, go and work, drive a tractor, a harvester, make a career. First a career, and then, maybe a child - he added.

Mr. Czarnek’s infamous comments

Below are a selected few of the Minister’s most controversial statements:

  • “For God's sake, it doesn't take scientific evidence to know that a homosexual relationship can only result in kidney stones, not children”,
  • "Instead of having children at 20-25, they’re giving birth at 30. When you give birth to your first child at 30, how many of them can you still have? These are the consequences of convincing a woman that she doesn’t have to do what God has called her to do",
  • "Let us protect the traditional family model from such corrupt, depraved, and absolutely immoral behavior. Let us defend ourselves against the LGBT ideology and stop listening to these moronic statements about human rights and all that equality nonsense. These people are inferior to normal people, and let’s finally end this discussion”,  
  • "There is no doubt that this entire LGBT ideology, which grew out of neo-Marxism, comes from the same root as German National Socialism, which is responsible for all the evils of World War II, the destruction of Warsaw and the murder of those who fought for our freedom in the Warsaw uprising. It’s of the same origin”.

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