IN A NUTSHELL 16/2019-20


Each year OECD conducts a huge research testing how educational systems around the world works. The results for 2018 are especially interesting for Poland because our students showed themselves from very good light. The experiment involved 600,000 students aged 15 from 79 countries and checked their skills in three areas: reading comprehension, mathematics and science. The group from Poland were 5653 students from 227 junior high schools, that is to say schools currently shut down as part of educational reform. In reading comprehension our students had one of the highest positions in the world (only students from China, Singapore, Estonia, Canada and Finland were visibly better), in maths we had second place in Europe, in science third place in Europe. Such great results must lead to a question: was the educational reform really a good idea?


Apparently, you can. A recent report published by BBC describes the case of Valerie Stephan, an amateur runner, who is now trying to recover from the addiction. She says she started from 5 kilometers runs, but quickly moved to marathons and getting up each morning to train. Soon training started having huge effect on her life. She started coming late to work, meeting with friends only if they agreed to play squash or swim together — she just had to meet her daily target of exercise. That led to isolation from family and friends and exercise controlling Valerie rather that the other way round. She says she could not rest because she was thinking all the time about sport. If she was to meet her friends she had to exercise a lot beforehand or else she felt guilty.  When she tried to stop training, she started feeling anxious, getting headaches, problems sleeping. Truly, it does not differ much from any other addiction. Experts say the problem concerns about 3% of people now and rises to 10% among high-performance runners. It seems moderation is necessary in everything, even healthy lifestyle habits.

Source:, an article from December 7, 2019 about Valerie Stephan


Szymon Hołownia, a host of ”Poland’s got talent” show, a journalist, author of many Catholic publications, founder of two charities, announced last weekend he would run in the next presidential elections. Hołownia certainly can be called a celebrity and as such does not have to introduce himself. Although he considers himself a devoted Catholic he often criticizes Polish church on social networking sites saying, among others, that the biggest threat to Polish church is… Polish church (the hierarchs). He also often criticized Law and Justice but does not represent any opposition party and is going to start as an independent candidate. He certainly is well-educated and has good PR. Comments after his decision are very mixed. Some see real chances, others say he is too liberal for real Catholics and too Catholic for liberal voters. Experts point out that independent candidates who are not supported by any political party in general have little chance for success. One thing is certain: with Hołownia in the race the elections next year are certainly going to be more interesting.


New Zealand is an island country in the southern Pacific ocean, roughly the size of Poland, but with roughly 10 times fewer inhabitants. It is in fact so far from Poland that in terms of flight duration it is almost irrelevant whether you fly there via Bangkok or Los Angeles. The country lies on an enormous active faultline separating the Pacific plate from the Australian plate, so it is seismically and volcanically very much active. New Zealand’s most active cone volcano is White Island („Whakaari” in Maori) in the Bay of Plenty. It has a moon-like but colourful surface with an acidic lake in its crater and it’s visited by approximately 10,000 people every year. Last Monday was a perfect day for a visit: warm, with clear blue skies and a lovely early-summer breeze. That’s until 2:11pm local time when the volcano erupted violently wihout any warning, making it a hell ride for everyone on it. As of Sunday, December 15, eight people were confirmed dead, with another nine still missing (and considered dead), as well as 30 in critical condition, currently being treated in New Zealand and Australian hospitals. New Zealand has ordered 120 square metres of skin (an average person has between 1-2 square metres of skin on them) from hospitals worldwide to help survivors with severe burns. It turns out the skin comes from donors. Similar to organ donors, skin donors register to donate their skin after death. According to the Australian government’s donation site, when skin is donated, usually only a thin layer is taken: the skin that peels when you are sunburned. The skin grafts are usually taken from donors’ backs or the back of their legs.

source:, a December 10, 2019 material on the eruption of the White Island volcano


  1. Students’ scores in written tests illustrate how good education is best.
  2. Too many people today treat running as a sort of religion.
  3. An independent candidate does not have any chance to win presidential elections.
  4. We should all sign up for donating parts of our bodies after our death.
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