Ukraine’s language policy and multilingual education discussed at HCNM-supported conference in Kyiv
The office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine organized a conference on “Multilingual education in the OSCE region: experiences and perspectives for Ukraine” on 13 April 2017 in Kyiv.
Opening the conference, Minister for Education and Science of Ukraine Liliya Hrynevych said the fact that numerous ethnic groups reside in Ukraine was an asset for the country. She explained the three objectives of Ukraine’s language policy: create opportunities for all to achieve fluent proficiency in the State language; foster knowledge of national minority languages; and encourage the learning of foreign languages.
The participants shared their experiences of multilingual education, both in Ukraine and across the OSCE, and discussed recommendations for the future of multilingual education in Ukraine.
Liubov Zadorozhna, Deputy Director of the Odesa Regional Institute for Post‑Graduate Pedagogical Education, shared her experience as an academic consultant for a multilingual education pilot programme that the Ministry of Science and Education is conducting in selected schools. She said that preserving Ukraine’s multilingual tradition means developing a new model for education in the State language, national minority languages and foreign languages.
The international experts presented a variety of multilingual education models that can be adapted to accommodate the diversity of different regional contexts. The office of the HCNM has emphasized the need to strike a balance between, on the one hand, preserving and developing the languages of minorities and, on the other, encouraging them to become fluent in the State language – to be fully engaged in public life, feel that they belong and realize their full potential in society.
The conference was an opportunity for the office of the HCNM to deepen its co‑operation with the Ministry of Science and Education, based on the understanding that multilingual education is an approach that can offer solutions for the integration of diverse societies.
The conference was attended by 50 participants, including staff of the Ministry of Education and Science, educators from across Ukraine, representatives of national minority communities and international experts from the Netherlands, Spain, Estonia, Georgia, and the Central Asian and Western Balkan regions.