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Vitsebsk Schoolchildren Are Forced to Subscribe to State Newspapers

2004 2004-03-10T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

According to RFE/RL, among the editions, recommended by education departments to schoolchildren are “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” and the Vitsebsk official newspaper “Vitsbichy”.

In the end of the second quarter Vitsebsk schools received the order to subscribe to certain number of copies of state editions. A teacher from Pershamayski district of Vitsebsk said: “Our school receives the plan where it is stated how many copies of certain editions it is to receive on subscription: for instance, “Vitsbichy” – 5 copies per form, “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” – 2 copies. It is obligatory! Besides, if this plan is not executed, the form master can be deprived of his/her bonus or have other troubles.”

So, schoolchildren have to give money for collective subscription, from 500 to 1 000 rubles each.

The list of the “recommended” editions contains no Belarusian-language ones, even the republican newspaper for teenagers “Ranitsa” is not mentioned. Instead, in one of the schools of Pershamayski district pupils of minor forms were ordered to give money for subscription to the magazine “Belaruskaya Dumka” (former “Kamunist Belarusi”). Of course, 6-9 year-olds won’t read it. What concerns their teachers, they are also dissatisfied with the choice. “Some two-three years ago teachers could choose the editions they needed, for instance, wonderful Russian editions on their subjects. They are too expensive for teachers to buy that’s why money was raised. Several teachers made use of one copy to prepare to their classes. Now they haven’t such a right. They have to execute the plan – “Vitsbichy”, “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” and so on.”

Vitsebsk teachers also say that soon the control of subscription can become yet harder: in some of the schools teachers are ordered to find out what newspapers the children’s parents subscribed to and whether they subscribed to such independent newspapers as “Vitsebski Kuryer” and put down this information.

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