Yavir V. А. National minorities native tongue education rights in Ukraine: the analysis of draft laws
The article is devoted to the urgent ethnopolitical problem - native tongue education of national minorities in Ukraine. One language education in the languages of national minorities has long been the basis for nourishing disintegration trends in Ukraine. Since the response to the restriction of this right in the Law of Ukraine “On Education” has been tough, the author studies the position of the neighboring states and international institutions on the linguistic issue, analyzes recent legislative initiatives and international experience.
In the context of the educational reform in Ukraine on September 5, 2017, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine “On Education”, Art. 7 of which defines the state language in the language of the educational process in educational institutions of Ukraine. In particular, the state guarantees every citizen of Ukraine the right to receive formal education at all levels (pre-school, general secondary, vocational (vocational), specialist pre-school and higher), as well as out-of-school and postgraduate education in the state language in state and municipal educational institutions. As far as persons belonging to national minorities of Ukraine are concerned, they are guaranteed the right to study in communal education establishments for pre-school and primary education, along with the state language, the language of the national minority.
The refusal to provide a monolingual secondary education (only in languages of national minorities) was dictated by the fact that representatives of national minorities in places of compact residence display very low level of proficiency in the state language.
Romanian and Hungarian minority organizations stated that Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On Education” contains rules that contradict Articles 10, 22, 23, 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine and open the way to linguistic assimilation of national minorities. They were supported by ethnic homelands. So, the reaction of neighboring states with numerous and powerful minorities in Ukraine was even more acute. They are Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, as well as Bulgaria and Greece.
Hungary and Romania have joined efforts to bring changes in Ukrainian educational legislation. Both states have repeatedly appealed to Ukraine not to adopt a new educational law, which in their opinion seriously violates the rights of Romanian and Hungarian national minorities. Hungary, in particular, promised to initiate a revision of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.
Rapidly reacting to the reaction of neighboring states, deputies registered several draft laws, in particular: “On amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Education” regarding the implementation of the PACE resolution on the rights of indigenous peoples, national minorities of Ukraine to study in their native language” No. 7,259 dated 07.11.2017; “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Education” on ensuring the protection of the language rights of national minorities” No. 7146 dated 09/28/2017.
The above-mentioned draft laws on restoring the rights of national minorities to education in their native language contradict the concept of educational reform in Ukraine (which involves the integration, consolidation of all citizens, regardless of ethnic origin, on the basis of knowledge of the state language), since they include the state’s obligation to guarantee every citizen of Ukraine the right to education at all levels, which will foster separatist tendencies in the national minorities and generate threats to national security and territorial integrity and Ukraine.
The author comes to the conclusion that the expansion of linguistic rights of national minorities itself is a positive phenomenon, but under modern ethnopolitical circumstances on the background of ignorance of the state language, it promotes the isolation of national minorities, their orientation exclusively on ethnic homelands, the spread of separatist sentiments that may eventually threaten the national security and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Key words: disintegration, national minorities, education, language policy.