Ukraine moves to improve minority legislation with eye on Romania

Parliament of Ukraine (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
By Dénes Albert
4 Min Read

Ukraine has taken the first important steps in amending minority legislation, including in the field of education so that teaching at schools in Romanian communities can continue in the Romanian language, as it has existed for hundreds of years, said Aurica Bojescu, secretary in charge of the Interregional Union of the Romanian Community in Ukraine.

According to the source quoted, the Ukrainian Parliament has repealed the legislative provisions requiring schools teaching in minority languages, including Romanian, to gradually introduce the teaching of basic subjects in Ukrainian from 20 percent of the total number of lessons in the 5th grade to 60 percent in the 11th grade.

Bojescu points out that the legislative changes came about mainly as a result of the joint meeting between the governments of Romania and Ukraine, which took place in Kyiv on Oct. 18, 2023, but also under pressure from the European Commission, which is negotiating Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, and the Council of Europe.

The secretary participated in the discussions with the EU commissioner for enlargement, as well as in the negotiations with the Ministry of Education in Kyiv and with the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience of the Kyiv Government. She believes that the basic normative act on education still needs some revisions, which would be in the interest of the Romanian community in Ukraine, as it wants to keep Romanian language education in schools.

One of the articles to be revised is related to minority language teaching at the level of schools, not at the classroom level, and the return to the status of Romanian-language schools as it was until 2017. The second issue concerns the baccalaureate in minority languages, i.e., in Romanian.

“We still do not have changes to Article 7 of the education law, as stipulated by the Constitution of Ukraine, where the process of education in the mother tongue in schools is guaranteed. We still wonder why in our villages, in the localities where we have schools, teaching is not guaranteed in schools, but only in classrooms. We continue to discuss with the Ministry of Education, with the Department for Ethnopolitics of the Government concretely for these changes. (…) The most important point that has not yet been achieved is the baccalaureate, which is not allowed in the language of instruction, as is provided for in Romania. We don’t have a baccalaureate in the mother tongue either, which makes the motivation to learn in the mother tongue, in Romanian, lacking. If students learn in Romanian all their years, they should take the baccalaureate in Romanian. Now, the Romanian baccalaureate is only allowed for those who went to school before Sept. 1, 2018.”

Although the news appeared on the Romanian news portal Ziare, neighboring Hungary has much the same complaints regarding minority rights in Ukraine. Hungary has so far not commented on the Ukrainian legislative changes.

Share This Article