Ukrainian Language Bill Facing Barrage of Criticism from Minorities, Foreign Capitals

2017/9/24 14:29:30

The wording of the Ukrainian legislation states that the language of instruction in the first four grades may be in a minority language. By grade five, however, only two or more subjects can be taught in any of the languages of the EU. (file photo)

 


By Tony Wesolowsky for RFE/RL, Sep 24, 2017

 

Timeya Leshko doesn’t see much of a future for her four children in Ukraine, where a Moscow-backed conflict still flares up in the east and economic opportunities seem few and far between elsewhere.



"There’s no way to earn a living here. Everyone knows that. All the young people are leaving," Leshko told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in a recent interview. "And I don’t think it’s going to get better, only worse."

 
The ethnic Hungarian in the sleepy village of Mali Heivtsi on Ukraine’s western fringes, not far from Slovakia and Hungary, is convinced that learning her native tongue is the ticket out for her kids.

 

But that may be tougher for Leshko and other ethnic minorities in Ukraine after the country’s parliament passed an educational-reform bill on September 5 that includes a clause making Ukrainian the required language of study in state schools from the fifth grade on.

 

Leshko is not a fan of the bill, which would roll back the option for lessons to be taught in other languages.

 

"I don't like it. Why? Because, for example, I am a Hungarian. I was studying in a Hungarian school and I want my children also to speak Hungarian," she explained. "Maybe they will move to Hungary or maybe they will go there to earn money. In that case, the Hungarian language will be more useful than Ukrainian, I think."

 

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https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-langua ... ary-romania/28753925.html

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