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Title: bilingual education
Submitter: Henk Wolf
Description: Dear linguists, Bilingual education has not been a controversial subject in Frisian politics for years. Although bilingual primary education was prescribed by law, the educational goals for the minority language Frisian were reached by only 30% of all primary schools. In its 1999 evaluation report, the school inspection criticized the general lack of enthusiasm among school boards to teach Frisian. The also concluded that the teaching methods were often inadequate and time spent on teaching Frisian was very limited (on average 25 minutes per week). This situation was criticized by both the Dutch Ministry for Internal Affairs and the Council of Europe, who regularly evaluate Frisian language politics as laid down in the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and several national agreements. No measures were undertaken, however, to improve Frisian education. Recently, the debate on bilingual education was reopened by the Frisian provincial government (Deputearre Steaten), who declared in their report 'Herziening kerndoelen Fries in het primair onderwijs' (revision of educational goals for Frisian in primary education) that they no longer considered a policy of equivalent bilingualism realistic. The provincial government now proposes to lower the education goals, which still prescribe a level of full literacy. In their proposal, only 'a positive attitude towards Frisian' would remain as an obligatory goal. The government advises to leave it to every school which extra goals they wish to attain for their pupils. I have read the report, as have other sociolinguists, and we are surprised to see that no reference at all is made to research on bilingualism or experiences of bilingual school elsewhere in the world. The official policy of full equivalence of both official languages is abandoned without a proper motivation. I invite you all to study the report and the criticism given. Most of the information is available at, the site of a pressure group that protest against the plans. The information is mainly in Dutch and Frisian.
Date Posted: 26-Jan-2005
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Language Specialty: Frisian, Western
Frisian, Northern
Frisian, Eastern
LL Issue: 16.261
Posted: 26-Jan-2005

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