Ministry of Education believes th there are ample opportunities to study Belarusian language in Belarus
Commenting on the report of Salihorsk representatives of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee on the observance of the rights of Belarusian-speaking citizens in the region, the Ministry of Education has come to the conclusion about the existence of wide opportunities for the study of the Belarusian language and its use in all areas of communication.
The human rights activist regard this reaction of ministerial officials to the disappointing results of the monitoring as an attempt to escape from reality.
The reply, signed by Deputy Minister Raisa Sidarenka, tells about the “achievements” of the educational establishments in the sphere of Belarusization, such as the equal number of hours fo rthe study of the Belarusian and Russian languages, the opportunity to pass tests in any of the two languages during the central testing and the existence of the subject “Belarusian language – professional vocabulary” at vacation schools and higher educatinal establishments.
“Unfortunately, the Deputy Minister hasn't written anything about the ways to solve the raised and really extant problems in the educational sphere. The study of the Belarusian language as a foreign one in the completely Russified educational establishments can in no way replace the full-fledged education with the Belarusian language of instruction. 63% citizens of our district stated at the poll that their native language was Belarusian, and 28% of citzens of the Salihorsk district speak Belarusian at home. How is it possible that with such official statistics, where more than 2/3ds of the district population live, there isn't a single Belarusian-language kindergarten or at least a group, not a single Belarusian-language school or form? Under such circumstances, the position of the Ministry of Education can in no way be called adequate, and the references to the equal number of hours for learning Belarusian and Russian in the conditions of a completely Russified education process are nothing but an attempt to turn away from the reality,” says the BHC representative in Salihorsk Leanid Markhotka.
However, based on the practice of such monitoring, human rights activists are hoping that, despite the official denial of the Ministry of Education of the existing language discrimination in the country, the results of the report will still be used by officials to improve the situation.