Hungarians win education battle in Romania

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The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) has won a political battle over the question of Romanian language education in minority schools, prompting the resignation in Bucharest of the minister of education responsible for the government regulation that sparked the entire debate, Romanian news portal reports.

At the end of August, the Romanian government passed a regulation that teaching the Romanian state language in minority schools can only be performed by native Romanian teachers – contrary to previous practice that permitted ethnic minority teachers to also teach Romanian.

Romania’s largest minority, the Hungarians opposed the change and the conflict peaked on Wednesday when Hunor Kelemen, RMDSZ party chairman, said it was suspending cooperation with the ruling Social Democrats (PSD). Although RMDSZ holds just 6.4 percent of seats in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, their support is crucial to the PSD.

The conflict was swiftly settled by PSD President Liviu Dragnea, who many say is the real power pulling the strings behind Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă. Following a meeting with Dragnea, Minister Popa announced his resignation, and at a cabinet meeting held shortly thereafter, the government withdrew the regulation.


Minister of Education Valentin Popa tendered his resignation on Thursday.

Kelemen posted the following short announcement on his Facebook page:

“We succeeded! At our request, the government withdrew the article of an August regulation that affected negatively Hungarian elementary school pupils. Hungarian teachers can again teach the Romanian language!”




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