Council of Europe wants Czechia to expand teaching of Romani in schools

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On Wednesday, the Council of Europe (CoE) called on the Czech Republic to continue to improve the protection of minority languages. Czechia has taken steps in a positive direction in the protection of German, Polish and Moravian Croatian, according to a report by this supranational body, however, the CoE also said that the Czech Republic offers insufficient teaching of Romani at primary and secondary schools.

“Romani can be studied at many universities, but there is limited teaching of the language in public primary and secondary schools,” the Council of Europe wrote in a report. Florián Bayer’s primary school in Kopřivnice remains the only primary school where Romani lessons are available. Romani is also taught by two other secondary schools in Jihlava and Česká Krumlov, the report added.

According to the document, the Czech authorities acknowledge that the teaching of Romani in primary and secondary schools is not sufficient, however, they argue that this is due to the low interest in the language on the part of pupils and their parents.

The Council of Europe has once again criticized the Czech Republic for the 10 percent limit, from which the installation of bilingual names is mandatory in cities, according to Czech news portal This mainly concerns the Polish minority in Silesia. CoE finds the limit too high and called on the Czech authorities to support bilingual place names regardless of the limit being exceeded.

However, the CoE praised the Czech Republic for the planned projects of teaching German at primary schools in Cheb and Jablonec nad Nisou, which are to start during this school year. Further programs for teaching German in primary schools could also start in other cities located in areas where the German language minority lived in the past.

The document also welcomes activities in support of the Moravian Croatian language. At the end of 2020, a museum of this language is to open in Jevišovka in southern Moravia. The Czech authorities supported the establishment of the museum and also the project of teaching Moravian Croatian at a distance.

The report is based on the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which came into force in the Czech Republic in 2007. Its provisions in the Czech Republic apply to Slovak, German, Polish, Romani, and Moravian Croatian. The report of the Council of Europe does not mention developments in the protection of Slovak.

The Council of Europe, which was founded in 1949, is not an EU institution but now brings together 47 countries. 

Title image: Artists perform during the World Gypsy Festival Khamoro 2011 in downtown Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, May 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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