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Language Matters in Ukraine's Educational Reform Language Matters in Ukraine's Educational Reform
by Prof. Michael R. Czinkota
2017-11-10 10:35:56
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Recently, the Washington Post wrote about the law restructuring Ukraine’s education system and establishing Ukrainian as the main language in schools. The new law concerns neighboring countries such as Russia and Hungary about the rights of ethnic minorities.

ukr01_400_01Why do I consider that important? In addition to creating political tensions in the region, this action may lead the country to a lack of unity and economic inefficiency. By reducing the role of other languages, even though they are clearly present in the country's cultural mix, the new law segregates between those who speak Ukrainian and those who don't. It can create an identity problem since language is one of the key-factors that compose one’s sense of belonging.

The new law can have economic consequences as well. It may limit work and educational potential by excluding a part of the population. According to the Post, about 30 percent of Ukrainians called Russian their mother tongue in the 2001 census. There are about 150,000 ethnic Hungarians in the country, accompanied by other minorities such as Romanians and Moldovans. Everyone who does not speak the official language may start facing inequality of payment and lack of work opportunity.

Instead of imposing limitations, it may be worth to embrace the different ethnicities and harness the diverse heritage from its people. Doing so may help inducing an inclusive educational environment and offer steps to guarantee an even more rich economy in the coming years. Just imagine all the business Ukraine can do in Hungary and Russia.

International marketing is a useful answer to a population which benefits from diverse capabilities.


Professor Czinkota teaches international business and trade at Georgetown University and the University of Kent. His key book is International Marketing’ 10 th ed. (with Ilkka Ronkainen), CENGAGE

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bohdan2017-11-11 05:35:00
“…establishing Ukrainian as the main language in schools.”

What exactly is wrong with that edict. Would you ask France to not make French their main language, or Germany not German; maybe Russian could be the main language taught in Germany or Hungary?

In fact throughout the Soviet era Russia not only tried to rid Ukraine of Ukrainians but also made it a crime to teach or even speak Ukrainian in Ukraine. That’s why so many Ukrainians are well verse in Russian.

I know it’s easy to start blaming Russia for Ukraine’s predicament but I find it coincidental that suddenly Hungary, a Russian ally and Moldova’s Russian Transdniester along Ukraine’s border suddenly are promoting the idea of annexing their border territory into Ukraine.

This seems like the Era of Fakes News being true and Real News being called Fake…….we’ve graduated, stepping beyond Orwell’s “1984”.

Again, a nation’s language should be the main language taught in public schools…. Even in Hungary. What is wrong with that simple statement?

In Ukraine if only to reacquaint the nation in their national language.

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