Western Europe - Multicultural education in a multinational society

Western Europe

In Western Europe, the distribution of bilingual education is seen as an important condition for intercultural dialogue and opposition to national intolerance, xenophobia. The institutions of integrated Europe have prepared and launched educational pan-European language projects: "The European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages", "Pluralism, Diversification, Citizenship" etc. The implementation of projects should teach to accept, understand and respect the views and beliefs, values ​​and traditions of representatives of other nationalities, promote the teaching of minority languages, and form students' understanding of the linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe from the first days of schooling.

These and other documents of the European Union and the Council of Europe refer to the plans to disseminate educational materials in "all European official languages ​​and minority languages", the need for widespread use in the study of the languages ​​of modern communication and information technologies, about taking into account the starting level of non-native language proficiency, encouraging speech communication skills in non-native language, etc.

In the educational institutions of Western Europe the scheme of bilingual education is the following: the student must master three languages: native, one of the working languages ​​of the European Union (English, German, French), and any other state language of the countries of the European Community.

A special place is the problem of linguistic training of small autochthons and immigrants. Teachers have to overcome significant difficulties. Students from small subcultures often have a poor command of non-native languages. Outside the classroom, in the family, they prefer to use their native language. In Germany, Switzerland, Finland, so do from 54 to 66% of students. In Europe as a whole, in minority families, no more than 6-10% of schoolchildren communicate in the language of the dominant nation. Mastering the languages ​​of the dominant ethno-cultural groups makes it much easier for indigenous and non-indigenous minorities to assimilate the educational material, communicate with representatives of foreign cultures.

The question of teaching the languages ​​of autochthonous minorities and immigrants in the framework of bilingual education is no less complicated. So, for immigrants, such teaching is more an exception than a rule. Although it is widely practiced in Denmark and Germany. For example, in the large cities of Bavaria, the land of Hesse, national classes, vocational education centers are organized, where teaching is conducted in German and the language of immigrants (primarily Turkish). At the same time, a gradual transition to teaching in German is carried out.

More often bilingual teaching of state languages ​​and languages ​​of a small ethno-cultural group is organized to meet the educational interests of autochthons. In particular, in Spain such training is seen as a manifestation of not only the linguistic independence of the Basques and Catalans in the sphere of culture and education, but also as an important basis for their autonomy. The state guarantees the right to study in the Catalan language and the Basque language. The laws of Catalonia and Baskonia prescribe the mastery of the students of two languages ​​(indigenous and Spanish). Teachers are required to know these languages.

In Catalonia, a certificate of general education is issued only with confirmation of sufficient knowledge of the native language. The language of instruction in general educational institutions is chosen according to the wishes of the parents; in 99.9% of public primary schools, instruction is conducted in the Catalan language; in high school is more popular learning in Spanish. Other statistics in private general education. There are fewer schools where teaching is conducted in Catalan, and there has been a tendency to reduce the number of such institutions.

In Basque Country, the teaching of native language as a way of preserving ethnic identity is also encouraged. Esquara (Basque language), spoken by 25% of the 2 million inhabitants of the Basque Country, is compulsory for study at all levels of education.

The consequences of bilingual education in Catalonia and the Basque Country vary. The Catalan language is widespread not only among the indigenous ethnos, but also non-Catalans. In the Basque Country, the situation is different: the escuara is difficult to learn and can not compete with the Spanish as a tool for monolingual communication.

One of the models of accounting for the educational needs of indigenous minorities through bilingual education is Wales (UK). Act of 1967 in Wales, Welsh and English are equal in rights. The number of students studying the school curriculum in Welsh is steadily increasing, the list of basic subjects of secondary education taught in the native language of Wales is increasing, special training centers are being created to assist in the study of this language. As a result, there is an increase in Welsh-speaking children under five.

The curious practice of multilingual education can be observed in a tiny state - Andorra, where there is a rather complicated cultural, ethnic and linguistic situation. As a result of population growth, the Andorranese, whose Catalan language is official, ceased to be an absolute majority. Nevertheless, along with teaching in Spanish and French in schools, it is mandatory to study the Catalan language and culture.

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