Polish teacher apologises for physics question about Syrian migrants

A teacher in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok has been forced to apologise for an insensitive physics question about Syrian migrants for his 14-year-old students.

According to CNN, the assignment, given in late September, reads: "Four refugees from Syria are to reach Greece on a raft which is 1m x 2m x 20cm and... 800kg/m2. Calculate how many refugees you need to push off the raft for them to reach their goal if each of them weigh 60kg."

Russian news agency Sputnik News said a mother of one of the students posted a picture of the assignment on Facebook on Nov 10, saying: "I am lost for words trying to comment on this."

The post has been shared more than 500 times including by Ms Anna Mierzynska of the Normal Bialystock Association, a group that promotes acceptance of multiculturalism.

"This test question has some kind of subtext, not expressed directly - how many people must die so that anyone could survive," Ms Mierzynska said. "This is question about murdering."

The teacher, Mr Grzegorz Nowik, however, insisted he was simply trying to get his students' attention by using a topical subject.

"Pupils are not interested when I explain the lift of a wooden block floating on water," he said, adding that he had told the students it was a joke.

The school's deputy director Elzbieta Stasiewicz said Mr Nowik has been given a final warning.

She said: "We will terminate our cooperation immediately if it happens again."