Ukraine’s Poorly Timed Education Law

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Series Details 02.10.17
Publication Date 02/10/2017
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Endorsing bilingualism in education would be the inspired and progressive option for the Ukrainian leadership.

Given Ukraine’s current state of affairs, it can hardly be in Kyiv’s interest to alienate a number of EU member states (such as Hungary, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and Greece with minorities in Ukraine) when the country needs their support for its ongoing difficult reform process and attempts at conflict-resolution. Further escalation of Ukraine-Russia relations can also only limit the scope for conflict-resolution. Rather than taking these political risks, endorsing bilingualism in education and public life more generally would be the inspired and progressive option for the Ukrainian leadership to choose.

This does not preclude an obligation for pupils and students to become fluent in the state language alongside their national language. By adopting such an approach, Ukraine would stand a better chance of defusing political tensions within and vis-à-vis its neighbors, and it could also set an example for many EU member states. What better way for Ukraine to prove its 'European' credentials?

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Euromaidan Press, 19.09.17: Ukraine’s new education law unleashes international storm over minority language status

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