Lithuania. Protests against the new education law.

26 Sep 2011

 “Thousands of minority Poles on Friday protested a new law in Lithuania that they claim discriminates against them and could diminish their education by demanding greater knowledge of the Lithuanian language.
The protests outside Parliament in the capital Vilnius underscored the contentious issue of language rights in Lithuania, a subject that has been the cause of tension in its relations with Poland.
Ethnic Poles number about 200,000 of Lithuania’s 3 million citizens, mainly the result of shifting borders after World War II. Many of these Poles speak Polish at home and attend Polish-language schools.  But the law, which passed in March and took effect in July, introduces standardized Lithuanian exams for all upper-class students, which minorities believe will put them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis native speakers….
Waldemar Tomaszewski, a member of the European Parliament from Lithuania, said the government should “postpone this law until 2018 or maintain the right for students of ethnic minorities to pass exams in their native language.”
Over the past year, the language issue has led nationalist politicians in Poland and Lithuania to trade barbed criticism. Lithuania’s Polish residents are upset that they cannot spell their name in legal documents with the letter ‘w _ a prominent letter in Polish that doesn’t exist in the Lithuanian alphabet…”

 Full Article – Associated Press – Taiwan News

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