State or native language?
Education reform and languages in Russia
Last week in the State Duma of the Russian Federation there was a conference "Ethno cultural development of the Russian peoples as a factor for harmonization of international relations”. An issue of giving the Russian language a status of native language to raise its role and popularize it was raised and discussed.
The opinions on the matter were different. Most experts believe that the status of native language will strengthen the Russian language significance in the Republics of the Russian Federation.
However, other specialists insist that nothing can threaten to the Russian language in Russia; it dominates on the whole territory of Russia. However, giving the status of native language to the Russian language will result in other native languages’ disappearance.
To understand how the things are, let’s have a look at the Russian Legislation. Article 9 of the Law of the Russian Federation "On languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation” says: "Citizens of the Russian Federation have a right to choose the language of education according to the Law on Education”. However, Article 14 of the same Law says: "In the Russian Federation there is a guarantee to get education on the state language of the Russian Federation and also to choose the language of education within the capabilities given by the education system”. It means other languages have no guarantee. And we see it in the real life. In the republics of the Russian Federation there are no schools taught in the native languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation.
Now if the changes in the Law are made, in such cities as Makhachkala or Derbent and other cities of Dagestan, the native languages will be replaced by the Russian language and the native languages will not be taught at all.
In order to improve the quality of command of the Russian language, the norms that aggravate the situation with the other languages should not be applied, while the educational system of the country should be reformed so that the level of knowledge of the Russian language as well as other school subjects could be improved. If the Russian language is taught as a state language, it should not be presented as a native language (it concerns all state languages).