CoE recommends Croatia set up Slovenian kindergartens

Strasbourg, 27 May - A Council of Europe (CoE) committee recommended that Croatia act immediately to ensure access to kindergarten education in Slovenian and to create TV and radio programmes in Slovenian, the CoE said on Monday. The Slovenian community in Croatia welcomed the recommendations, though Croatia is not obligated to follow them.

Brdo pri Kranju
The flags of Croatia and Slovenia.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

The Committee of Experts for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages published on Monday a report on Croatia and issued recommendation to Croatian authorities.

Croatia is recommended to take immediate action to make pre-school education in Croatia available in Slovenian. A television programme and a radio programme in Slovenian should also be introduced and broadcast with a sufficient duration, regularity and frequency.

Other recommendations included increasing awareness of the Slovenian language and culture as an integral part of Croatia's cultural heritage in both education and media.

Croatia should also take measures to improve the training of teachers of Slovenian and support the provision of Slovenian language courses. It should cooperate with Slovenian speakers to develop and implement a strategy on the promotion of the use of Slovenian in public life.

Barbara Riman, the head of the Union of Slovenian Associations in Croatia, welcomed the report as a pleasant surprise, adding that the comments of the Slovenian community had been taken into account.

CoE representatives visited Rijeka last year to learn about the position of Slovenian in Croatia. "We warned them that there was no option to learn Slovenian in Croatia in kindergartens and that Slovenian minority members have worked on this issue periodically, especially in Rijeka," said Riman.

Even though some steps have been taken, there are still no Slovenian kindergartens in Rijeka or elsewhere in Croatia.

She believes the other recommendations, especially regarding teacher training, will be difficult to achieve. "The Croatian Education Ministry is aware of the issue, but they don't know how to solve it or can't solve it," she added.

The CoE issued similar recommendations in its previous report, said Rimani, wondering to what extend Croatia was responding to the recommendations on the Slovenian minority community.

The Slovenian language is protected in Croatia under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which entered into force in Croatia in 1998.

In addition to Slovenian, the charter covers to various degrees Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak and Ukrainian as well as Boyash Romanian, German and Istro-Romanian.

© STA, 2024