Germany: Proposal for more Turkish courses

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Dec 13 17:09:26 UTC 2008

Germany: Proposal for more Turkish coursesTuesday, December 02, 2008
Turks in Germany accept German is the official language taught atschools throughout the country but call for more Turkish courses. Justas the Europeans are pressing the Turkish government for Kurdishcourses, it is the same with the Turks living in Germany, says MPHakkı Keskin  A proposal from Germany's Green Party Co-chairman CemÖzdemir to give additional Turkish language courses in German schoolshas received overwhelming support from members of the Turkishcommunity. "Özdemir's proposal is nothing new but it is a fair demand.We have been defending this for 15 years. Turkish courses in Germanschools will help integration," Turkish-born member of the Germanparliament Hakkı Keskin told the Hürriyet Daily News & EconomicReview. "German must always be the most important language forchildren who live and grow up in Germany. But we also need to makesure that children with an immigrant background can develop theirmultilingualism. Why not offer more Turkish in addition to English,Fre!
 nch, Spanish and Russian?" Özdemir said in comments published inthe Turkish and German press. "Germans say multilingualism isimportant but they change their attitude when it comes to Turkish,"said Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Federation in Berlin. Turkishcourses are among optional language courses at schools in a few Germanstates densely populated by Turkish immigrants but they are not taughtas a mother tongue. Turkey's consulates in Germany also offer Turkishcourses to voluntary Turks in evening classes separate to Germany'sofficial school curriculum. That means the marks given by Turkishteachers in these courses are not directly reflected in the schoolreports of immigrant pupils. "I have been critical of Turkish coursesoffered by the consulates from the very beginning. Turkey should notset aside extra funds from its budget to send teachers to Germany.Instead, the German government should offer Turkish courses," saidKeskin.

Turks in Germany do not oppose German being taught at schools as theofficial language but want Turkish to be taught as a mother tongue andas one of the optional language courses after a certain age, he said."Turkish immigrants have the right to learn their mother tongue. Justas the Europeans are pressing the Turkish government for Kurdishcourses, it is the same with the Turks living in Germany," saidKeskin. Turkish representatives complained about the low interest inoptional Turkish courses given at some German schools. "Turkishcourses, also attended by Germans, start from abc, prompting Turkishpupils not to join the classes," said Kolat. "New classes are notopened when students do not opt for it."
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