Chairman of Salihorsk BLS: Ministry of Education and people seem to be living in different countries
Salihorsk organization of the Belarusian Language Society received a response from the Ministry of Education to its statement on the need to give the Belarusian language is not a declarative, but an effective status of a state language and ensure the equality of the two state languages in all spheres of life.
The extremely positive response of the authorities has caused confusion among members of the organization:
“For reasons yet to be found, the Council of Ministers redirected our appeal to the Ministry of Education, although our demands were not only and not so much addressed to this body. The deputy minister Sidarenka praised the Belarusian so much that we got the impression that we are living in some completely different country,” says the chairman of the Salihorsk BLS Uladzimir Masakouski. “It turns out that the children in our gardens are actively familiarized with the riches of the Belarusian language, get acquainted with Belarusian folk festivals, works of national writers and composers. They are allegedly brought up in the spirit of a strong ethnic identity, are taught the peculiarities of culture, verbal communication, grammar and even correct pronunciation of speech sounds. Thus, we've got two pages of how good all is and how it will get even better in the future. Meanwhile, despite and athwart such a “great work”, one can't hear the Belarusian language in the streets of Salihorsk.
BLS members are revolted with the manipulation of statistics by the state officials.
“According to the statistics, drawn by the Ministry, children are educated in the Belarusian language in more than a half of the Belarusian schools. However, these numbers have absolutely no correlation with the number of pupils in schools with the Belarusian language of instruction. In particular, though the population of Salihorsk is 100,000 people, the city hasn't a single form with the Belarusian language of instruction,” points the head of the BLS organization.
Members of Salihorsk organization of the Belarusian Language Society will continue to demand from the authorities to resolve the issue with the introduction of strict control of the authorities at all levels with the aim to secure compliance with the language legislation.