Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine


It’s the time of year when Polish schoolchildren don suits and take school leaving exams, wrestling with the incompetence of Poland’s Ministry for Education bureaucrats. The reason they dress up like Little Lord Fauntleroys is that until very recently their own teachers examined them and pronounced them fit or unfit for further education, imprisonment, poverty or what-have-you. The whole idea of meritocracy is new to the Poles and only recently did they hit on the revolutionary idea of making final school examinations anonymous. I managed to sneak a peak at the instructions for school leavers and while I will not attempt to describe the intricacies of the instructions on how correctly to fill in the inevitable attendant paperwork I will say that anyone who does it correctly deserves to pass. One example of inept bureaucracy springs out from the page: pupils are required to fill in their PESEL (social security) number. The PESEL starts off with your date of birth so anonymity is straight away under threat, especially since there are also codes to be filled in that identify the school. (Data protection is also something of a novelty here: within days of getting a mobile phone, for instance, you will start receiving junk text messages.) Way down at the bottom of the form there is another field for the pupil to fill in: date of birth…

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