Language Instruction in Macedonia Can Foster Ethnic Understanding
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Tue Jan 18 16:24:36 UTC 2005
Published on SETimes (http://www.setimes.com)
Language Instruction in Macedonia Can Foster Ethnic Understanding, Group
A task force on education is recommending the introduction of alternative
bilingual education in the Macedonian school system. Joint extracurricular
activities and instruction in two or more languages will help promote
better understanding between ethnic communities, the group says. By Marija
Lazarova for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 06/01/05 The task force
is recommending that Macedonian-language students learn a language of one
of the country's other ethnic communities. [AFP]
In a new report, the Education Task Force of the European Centre for
Minority Issues Office Policy Dialogue Initiative in Skopje (ECMI) has
called for the introduction of alternative bilingual education in
Macedonia. To promote better understanding between ethnic communities, the
group said, schools should introduce joint extracurricular activities with
instruction in two or more languages.
The report, published in December, recommends that schools should require
students who receive Macedonian-language instruction to learn at least one
more language spoken by other ethnic communities in Macedonia. In regions
with a second official language, study of the second language should be
mandatory, the task force said.
According to Michael Sczporluk, a political adviser at ECMI, team experts
have not only suggested studying Albanian but all languages of ethnic
communities in environments where a second official language is in use.
"One of the recommendations is also higher quality studying of Macedonian
language by students belonging to ethnic communities," Sczporluk said.
The recommendations have been sent to the Macedonian Education Ministry,
the Education Development Bureau, the Language Development of Communities
Administration and to parliament. Sonja Lipitkova, the chairman of the
Parliamentary Education Committee, confirmed that the committee has
discussed the report. None of the member attendees expressed negative
opinions on its recommendations, she said.
"ECMI works on improvement of the status of minorities," said Konstantin
Petkovski, vice director of the Education Development Bureau and a member
of the task force. "With these suggestions, ECMI members want to improve
multiculturalism and cast off stereotypes in education."
The group also suggested that students learn about the culture and
traditions of other ethnic communities and that textbooks be adjusted to
reflect a multicultural environment.
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