Article 8 – Education

Article 8 – Education

General issues
80. Three structural problems affect the availability and quality of regional or minority language education. Firstly, there exists an overall shortage of teachers qualified to teach in regional or minority languages, which has a negative impact on the quality of education and, consequently, on the number of pupils enrolled. For example, there are indications that the number of pupils attending secondary education in Hungarian is decreasing as a result of a lack of teachers. Moreover, there is a lack of primary school teachers teaching chemistry, mathematics, physics and technical education in Slovak and secondary school teachers teaching history, mathematics, geography, physics, chemistry and biology in Romanian.

81.  Secondly, teachers are not obliged to attend professional development courses. The Serbian authorities have not approved any of the in-service training programmes for Slovak-medium teachers that had been put forward by the National Council of the Slovak National Minority. As regards the Romanian language, in-service training for teachers of the Romanian language and literature is only available in Romania but the Serbian authorities do not recognise the respective certificates. The Committee of Experts is of the view that the Serbian authorities should urgently devise a structured policy in the field of teacher training.

82.  Thirdly, there is a lack of teaching materials produced specifically for regional or minority language education. In most cases, textbooks are translated from Serbian and are thus only available with delays. According to information received40, this concerns in particular pre-school teaching materials in Romani, primary school textbooks in Albanian (for the subjects nature and society, history and geography), Romanian and Slovak and textbooks in Hungarian for secondary vocational education. However, the Serbian authorities are taking steps to improve the situation. In primary education, textbooks have been published in Hungarian (for Hungarian language and literature, Hungarian with elements of national culture, music and arts), Slovak (Slovak language, music and arts, nature, society and history) and Romani (for the first, second and third grades). The Committee of Experts welcomes these efforts and underlines that textbooks that are originally drafted in a regional or minority language are better adapted to such education and may also better reflect the history and culture of that language.41

The Committee of Experts encourages the Serbian authorities to develop a coherent strategy in the field of teacher training and provide adequate teaching materials for regional or minority language education.

Paragraph 1
“With regard to education, the Parties undertake, within the territory in which such languages are used, according to the situation of each of these languages, and without prejudice to the teaching of the official language(s) of the State:
Pre-school education
a i to make available pre-school education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
ii to make available a substantial part of pre-school education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
iii to apply one of the measures provided for under i and ii above at least to those pupils whose families so request and whose number is considered sufficient; or
iv if the public authorities have no direct competence in the field of pre-school education, to favour and/or encourage the application of the measures referred to under i to iii above;”

83. Serbia did not specify, in its instrument of ratification, which of the sub-paragraphs a.iii and a.iv it wishes to apply. It is not clear from the periodical report if Serbia by ratifying both sub-paragraphs intended to cover both the area where the authorities are competent and the area where they are not competent. Based on the information received, the Committee of Experts has therefore decided to deal with pre-school education in relation to sub-paragraph a.iii.

Albanian

84. In the reference period 2006/2007, 984 children42 in Bujanovac, Medveđa/Medvegjë and Preševo/Preshevë attended pre-school groups teaching in Albanian. There were no bilingual groups.

Bosnian

85. Between 650 and 700 children in Novi Pazar attended pre-school groups teaching in Bosnian. There were no bilingual groups.

Primary education
“b i to make available primary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
ii to make available a substantial part of primary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
iii to provide, within primary education, for the teaching of the relevant regional or minority languages as an integral part of the curriculum; or
iv to apply one of the measures provided for under i to iii above at least to those pupils whose families so request and whose number is considered sufficient;”
Albanian 95. In the reference period 2006/2007, 9,173 children in Bujanovac, Medveđa/Medvegjë and Preševo/Preshevë attended primary-school classes teaching in Albanian.

Bosnian

96. 6,697 children in 4 municipalities attended primary-school classes teaching Bosnian with elements of national culture. There seems also to exist a demand for Bosnian primary education in the municipalities of Priboj and Nova Varoš where no teaching of Bosnian takes place at present. According to the National Council of the Bosniak National Minority, most speakers are not sufficiently aware of the right to Bosnian-language education and how this right can be exercised.

Secondary education
“c i to make available secondary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
ii to make available a substantial part of secondary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
iii to provide, within secondary education, for the teaching of the relevant regional or minority languages as an integral part of the curriculum; or
iv to apply one of the measures provided for under i to iii above at least to those pupils who, or where appropriate whose families, so wish in a number considered sufficient;”

  • Albanian – In the reference period 2006/2007, 1,041 pupils in Preševo/Preshevë attended secondary-school classes teaching in Albanian.

Technical and vocational education
“d i to make available technical and vocational education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
ii to make available a substantial part of technical and vocational education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
iii to provide, within technical and vocational education, for the teaching of the relevant regional or minority languages as an integral part of the curriculum; or
iv to apply one of the measures provided for under i to iii above at least to those pupils who, or where appropriate whose families, so wish in a number considered sufficient;”

  • Albanian – In the reference period 2006/2007, 1,831 pupils in Bujanovac and Preševo/Preshevë attended technical and vocational classes teaching in Albanian.

University and higher education
“e ii to provide facilities for the study of these languages as university and higher education subjects; or”
Albanian 120. In the reference period 2006/2007, 12 students were enrolled at the Department for Albanian at the University of Belgrade.
Bosnian 121. The University of Novi Pazar disposes of a section on Serbian/Bosnian Language and Literature which also educates teachers of Bosnian. However, the Committee of Experts has no information about the number of enrolled students.
Adult education
“f iii if the public authorities have no direct competence in the field of adult education, to favour and/or encourage the offering of such languages as subjects of adult and continuing education;”

133. Moreover, the Committee of Experts has no information regarding the implementation of this undertaking for Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Romanian, Ruthenian, Slovak and Ukrainian.47

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