15:10 07.12.2017

Change of 'language article' in education law at last moment was a mistake – German ambassador

Change of 'language article' in education law at last moment was a mistake – German ambassador

German Ambassador to Ukraine Ernst Reichel believes that the decision by the Verkhovna Rada to amend the article on the language of instruction in the law on education at the last moment was a mistake and Ukraine is now paying the price for it.

"I think that the change at the last moment of Article 7 of the law on education [on the language of instruction] was a mistake, and I think that Ukraine is now paying the price for this mistake," he said during a round table discussion entitled "Relations with EU Neighbors: Seeking Neighborhood Policy for Ukraine" in Kyiv on Thursday.

The ambassador noted that he does not support Hungary's position, but believes that before the adoption of this decision, Ukraine should have discussed this provision with its neighbors.

"When I say that it was a mistake, please do not get me wrong. I'm not saying that the reaction, in particular, of Hungary was or is adequate," Reichel said.

The German diplomat added that due to the law, in particular, the Romanian and Hungarian minorities will lose the current status quo and their children will be "largely taught in the Ukrainian language, which many of them do not speak."

"If I were a parent of a child from the Hungarian minority, then I would be concerned," he said.

At the same time, the ambassador noted that citizens of Ukraine should know the Ukrainian language, but, in his opinion, this means an increase in the study of the Ukrainian language, but does not necessarily mean "studying mathematics or physics in Ukrainian."

Reichel said he regretted that the generally good reform law had become the subject of international relations of Ukraine.

As reported, the Ukrainian law on education came into force on September 28.

Among other things, the law stipulates that the state language is a language of learning at educational institutions, but one or several subjects in two or more languages, namely, the state language, English and other European Union official languages can be taught in compliance with the educational program.

People, who belong to ethnic minorities, are guaranteed the right for learning in the native language along with the Ukrainian language in separate groups of municipal pre-school and primary school institutions.

On September 28, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry sent the education law for examination by the Venice Commission.

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