- June 6, 2019
East or West, home is best: Elżbieta Kuzborska-Pacha
“As experts, we assumed that language is not everything in education, however, without language everything in education becomes nothing. Education in the language of a national minority is a guarantee of successful integration within the civil society,” says Dr. Elżbieta Kuzborska-Pacha, a lawyer and the author of the book “Legal protection of national minorities in the Baltic States”.
In May she participated in the international education forum in Brussels organized by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. “The first 6-8 years of education are of particular importance. It is the period of pre-school and primary education, that should be conducted in a minority language. Furthermore, it is recommended to use pupils’ native language as the language of instruction in high school for the majority of courses,” adds the expert. “Most international studies indicate that a child who is taught in their native language is more likely to succeed at school. Moreover, it reduces the likelihood of grade retention, dropping out of school and it helps to increase their self-esteem. Besides, it translates into better academic performance. That is why an investment in education in a minority language, is a long-term investment” emphasizes Elżbieta Kuzborska-Pacha.
Translated by Karolina Antos within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.