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      Szczecin. A good place to live

      Marta Kufel

      Marta Kufel

      Szczecin. A good place to live

      No city would exist without its residents. By caring for them and their needs, and ensuring suitable living and development conditions, we make Szczecin a city that is becoming increasingly resident-friendly.

      Education as our priority

      Recent years were extremely difficult for education. The large-scale governmental education reform, as a result of which the entire system has been turned upside down, the need to accommodate double classes in secondary schools or the need to take prompt actions in the face of the inflow of refugee schoolchildren from war-stricken Ukraine are only some of the challenges local governments needed to face as entities managing public educational establishments. Although the issues were characterised by a high degree of complexity, Szczecin dealt with them very well, on multiple occasions serving as a model for other Polish local governments. Persons responsible for the organisation of school work did their best to mitigate the negative effects of operations imposed on the Szczecin school circles.

      “Education has always been a priority to me, and nothing has changed in this respect,” said Piotr Krzystek, Mayor of Szczecin. “I believe that every penny invested in the area is money which could not have been spent better.” Each year we try to improve and enhance our schools, so that new generations of young Szczecin residents have better conditions to learn and broaden their skills.

      For students to develop and succeed in good conditions, the City is not only building new establishments, but also upgrading the existing educational base. This is one of the reasons why funds allocated for various activities in the sphere of education constitute the greatest share of the Municipality's budget each year.

      The quality of education in Szczecin-based schools is confirmed, for example, by external rankings. Each year, our schools are ranked high on a list prepared by Perspektywy monthly. Also, each year Szczecin’s student achieve the best results in primary and secondary school-leaving examinations in the Westpomeranian Region.

      We need to stress, however, that schools would not be able to function well without proper staff. For years, the City authorities have been paying attention to the pressing issue of insufficient salaries for teachers and to the fact that their work is marginalised. For that reason, as part of its own funds, the City decided to give additional rewards to teachers in recent years. It is a gesture of respect to them and a thank-you for their work and effort they put in performing their daily tasks, particularly when they had to face technological transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Caring for the mental health of young people

      With a view to taking care of the school environment even better, Mayor Piotr Krzystek made a decision on the development of a specialist Psychological Support Programme for Children, Youth and Teachers in recent months. It is a response to the problems with children's mental health observed and reported by school circles and the results of a study on the emotional state of students and teachers after the COVID-19 pandemic, with Szczecin being the first city in Poland to conduct such research.

      The basic objective of the Programme is to enhance the well-being of young people in primary and secondary schools through the development of soft competencies, the ability to cope in emergency situations, support for their emotional growth and the improvement of social communication skills, and tasks related to improving access to psychological support, both individual counselling and support-group sessions as part of activities being undertaken by non-governmental organisations. 

      Under our care at every stage of their lives

      Between 2017 and 2023, the number of places in Szczecin's nursery care establishments grew by nearly 83%. We will not stop at that. New places will soon be created in Szczecin where the best day care will be provided to over 500 young children.

      “Nursery care requires great attention and proper conditions so that the youngest ones can feel comfortable and safe when they are not cared for by their parents or legal guardians. For that reason, we are continuously expanding our nursery base, so that Szczecin families can be provided with the best possible conditions,” said Beata Bugajska, Director of the Social Affairs Department of the Szczecin City Office. 

      The youngest children are not the only ones who need a place where they are given professional care and the necessary support. This is the reason why, only in recent years, the Municipality established such exceptional places as the Family Initiative Centre, the Senior Citizen Centre or the Szczecin for Ukraine Support Centre. It is in these places that all those who are interested can use expert support and obtain information that will allow them to better find their way around the challenging reality, or simply to spend their time in an enjoyable way among friendly people.

      Another sphere in which the City has met its residents’ expectations was the establishment of the municipal In Vitro Programme. The main objective of the task was to provide couples affected by infertility with access to the in vitro fertilisation procedure. Thanks to the programme, over 140 young Szczecin residents were born! These are real effects that allowed many Szczecin families to fulfil their greatest dream.

      All these family-focused activities that are pursued in Szczecin were appreciated by the Large Families Association "3Plus" The capital of the Westpomeranian Region was one of the first cities in Poland which received the Family-Friendly City Certificate from the organisation. This distinction was awarded for the Municipality's activities in the sphere of family policy that have been undertaken so far.

      Remembering about all needs

      A city that aspires to be defined as a good place to live must also remember about other needs of its residents, including needs in the sphere of culture. That is why new interesting cultural institutions were established in Szczecin in recent years, greatly enriching the offering of the Westpomeranian Region capital in this sphere.

      Everyone will be able to find something for themselves in a beautifully renovated historic Lentz Villa or in a state-of-the-art “Krzemień” Culture Centre, as they are teeming with life each day. It is not all. In recent months, according to our residents’ wishes, the Municipality purchased the iconic “Pionier 1907” cinema. We are currently working on arranging the organisational and legal form of the establishment. Szczecin residents will also have their say in the final decisions in this respect by expressing their views in the course of public consultations which are currently being held.

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