Abkhazia: Russian replaces Georgian in the schools of Gali region
Georgian replaced by Russian in Gali region schools
In the schools of the Gali district of Abkhazia, where ethnic Georgians live, the restriction on the teaching of the Georgian language has been introduced, Tbilisi reports. The Georgian authorities condemn the “discrimination” against the Georgian population and call for the international community to intervene. However, in Abkhazia, they say that the transfer of the educational process in local schools from the Georgian to the Abkhaz curriculum has been going on for several yearsб adding that nothing threatens the teaching of the Georgian language and literature in the schools of the region.
“Ethnic discrimination and Russification” – statements from Tbilisi
Since the beginning of the new school year in September, the teaching of the Georgian language in schools at the level of the native language has been banned in the Gali region of Abkhazia. From now on, the authorities of Abkhazia allow the teaching of Georgian only as a foreign language – this statement was made by the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civil Equality.
Tea Akhvlediani stated that this decision is a gross violation of human rights, contrary to the basic norms and principles of international law:
“These are illegal actions, and they are a continuation of the policy of ethnic discrimination and russification carried out by the Russian occupation regime for many years. This regime is trying to destroy the Georgian traces in the occupied territories and to carry out the complete assimilation of the Georgian population”.
The minister said that the Georgian government immediately began negotiations with relevant international partners, including the co-chairs of the Geneva International Talks and the EU Observer Mission in Georgia. A hotline was also activated.
“This issue will be the main one on the agenda of the 54th round of the Geneva International Talks, scheduled for October 12-13, 2021”, Tea Akhvlediani said. “The Georgian side will use all the levers at its disposal to provide education in the native language of the population living in the occupied regions and to protect their other fundamental rights”.
Commentary from Abkhazia
JAMnews editor in Abkhazia
It is difficult for me to say what is the nature of the information hype that has arisen in the Georgian media around schools in the Gali region of Abkhazia. For several years now, educational institutions of the Gali region, populated mainly by ethnic Georgians, have been brought up to the general educational standard approved by the Ministry of Education of Abkhazia.
For a long time, since the end of the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-93, all subjects in Georgian schools in the Gali region were taught in the Georgian language, according to textbooks and programs approved in Georgia.
Naturally, this did not suit official Sukhum in any way, because the content of such subjects as, for example, history and geography in the Georgian interpretation was mirrored from the Abkhaz counterparts, which are used for teaching in other schools of the republic.
Therefore, when the Abkhaz authorities had the opportunity to change the situation, they did it. Now the educational process in the Gali region is mainly in Russian, according to textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education of Abkhazia.
At the same time, the reform did not affect the teaching of the subject “Georgian language and literature” in any way. It is taught in the same amount as before.
Sukhum believes that bringing the schools of the Gali district to the common Abkhaz educational standard makes it possible for the residents of this region to integrate more closely into the common Abkhaz space.
Cover photo: Elena Zavodskaya, Radio Liberty
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