Rooting out Russian-language schools: Ukrainian MPs pass secondary education bill detailing native tongue enforcement
Added 01-16-20 08:37:02pm EST - “Ukrainian MPs have dealt a final blow in Kiev's war on Russian-language schools, voting for a bill which effectively cancels them. While seemingly going easy on minorities, it would hit a third of the country's population.” - Rt.com
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Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed the bill ‘On Secondary Education’ on Thursday. The bill, which envisions an overhaul of Ukraine’s public school system, received an almost unanimous nod from the deputies, with 327 lawmakers voting in favor and only three against. Fifty-four MPs abstained and 16 were not present during the vote.
The bill’s stated goal is to expand the use of the official state language – Ukrainian – in classrooms, while at the same ensuring that ethnic minorities can still study in their native languages. In practice, however, the newly-approved bill, when it comes into effect, will see Ukrainian language gradually forced upon students at the expense of their mother tongues – and Russian, most of all, is bound to take a direct hit.
Three models, each purportedly catering to a different ethnic minority, will be introduced to regulate the teaching of the Ukrainian language. The first one is designed for stateless nations, – Crimean Tatars, for instance – and will see students taught in their native language as well as Ukrainian from the first until the last year of public schooling.
The second model is designed for minorities who speak one of the EU languages, and is believed to be a response to outrage from Hungary, which previously voiced criticism over Ukraine’s new education reform. The model foresees that the share of the classes taught in Ukrainian will gradually increase – from 20 percent in the 5th grade to at least 40 percent at the 9th grade.
It remains to be seen if the new bill, which also stipulates that private schools can continue to teach in the languages of their own choosing, placates Budapest.
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