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Minister writes to Austria over bilingual education concerns

Ljubljana, 16 July - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch has urged the Austrian minister in charge of ethnic minorities, Susanna Raab, to take action as one of the municipalities in the region of Carinthia has recently decided to abolish bilingual education.

Ljubljana
Minister for Slovenians Abroad Helena Jaklitsch.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

The municipal council of Grafenstein, located east of the regional capital Klagenfurt, decided last week the municipality would no longer be part of a bilingual area as set down by the Austrian federal law.

The development comes after a popular teacher failed to be appointed headmaster of a bilingual school because she did not pass B1 Slovenian language proficiency, and despite 30 children enrolled for bilingual education.

The council's decision is now being examined by Carinthia's regional office for constitutional affairs.

In a letter addressed to Raab on Thursday, Jaklitsch said other municipalities could follow in Grafenstein's footsteps, so she said she was convinced the Austrian minister for women and integration would use her powers and influence to prevent new pressures being exerted on the Slovenian minority.

Slovenian minority organisations reacted to the development already last week, labelling it an attack on the rights of Carinthian Slovenians which are guaranteed in the constitution and on all those who advocate tolerance, respect for the rule of law, European values and peaceful co-existence.

The minority organisations moreover urged in their open latter all public figures to resist such decisions which they believe have no place in Carinthia or Austria in 2020.

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© STA, 2020