Slovenian minority in Austria must have access to quality education in their own language
The European Free Alliance calls for the Austrian and Carinthian region governments as well as the EU institutions to ensure access to quality education for the Slovenian minority in Austria, which would contribute to the protection and use of Slovenian language in South Carinthia.
EFA member party Enotna Lista/ Einheitsliste is the only party defending the linguistic and cultural rights of the Slovenian minority in Austria -around 3 per cent of the total population of the country- and for years have been demanding its recognition as equal/ second official language in South Carinthia, where they are well represented in local governments.
Although language rights are granted by Austrian and EU law, they are not properly implemented and Slovenian still has a very limited presence in the Austrian educational system. The Slovenian minority is recognized as an “autochtonous minority” but they do not have their own educational institutions.
Bilingual schools exist but education is organized in a way that discourages inscription to Slovenian language courses, and the quality of the education itself is questionable. In most of the schools they offer only one hour of Slovenian per week, which is very often scheduled early in the morning and it is widely seen as an extra load for the students.
“The summer camps for children organized and financed in coordination with the government of the Slovenian republic have had much bigger impact (that Slovenian courses at school) on the learning curve and in the development of a sense of belonging to Slovenian identity as a valuable asset”, President of Enotna Lista, Gabriel Hribar, said.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF ENOTNA LISTA
EFA Vice President Nelida Pogačić was invited to participate in the National Assembly of Enotna Lista, which took place on 28 June in Ferlach (Carinthia, Austria), and said the support of the EFA party at European level can be key to ensure a real protection of Slovenian language in the region.
The National Assembly elected the leaders of the party for the next three years: Gabriel Hribar (President), Marko Trampusch and Marinka Mader-Tschertou (Vice Presidents), and EL members highlighted the importance of EFA’s support to make their voice heard in Europe.