At the autumn session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which takes place in Strasbourg, France, member of the Estonian delegation Andres Herkel was appointed to prepare a report under urgent procedure on the Ukrainian law on education.
The issue was taken on the agenda of the Plenary Session on the initiative of the Hungarian and Romanian delegations. “The problem is how the schools that today teach in Hungarian and Romanian, and also Russian, Polish and other languages, will transfer to the official language in three years, and if the quality of education and the cultural rights of national minorities will be preserved when this is done,” Herkel said. In his opinion, the transition will take longer, and a flexible model is needed, where a part of the lessons could be held in the students’ native language. “If we are able to look for compromises in spite of Hungary’s and Romania’s sharp reaction, we are on the right track,” Herkel added.
In September, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the law on education, according to which the education given in the languages of national minorities will shift to Ukrainian in three years. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko proclaimed the law on 27 September.
Report under urgent procedure means that the report has to be prepared in the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media within a few days, and it will be debated in the plenary already on Thursday. The law will also be evaluated by the Venice Commission. The need to give the Ukrainian language a stronger status in education was based on the earlier conclusions of the Commission.
The autumn session of PACE is also attended by head of the Estonian delegation and Vice-President of the PACE Marianne Mikko and member of the Estonian delegation Eerik-Niiles Kross.
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