20 Jan 2020 14:17

Teachers at Russian-language schools in Ukraine to be retrained to teach in Ukrainian

KYIV. Jan 20 (Interfax) - Teachers at Russian-language schools in Ukraine will undergo training over the summer in order to prepare for the transition to Ukrainian-language instruction, Education and Science Minister Hanna Novosad said in an interview with Interfax.

"We are currently preparing schools which teach in Russian to switch to Ukrainian in September starting in the fifth grade. At the same time, native language and literature will be taught in Russian. Plus, there will also be optional courses and extracurricular studies. And elementary classes will remain in the native language," Novosad said.

Asked whether children, especially upperclassmen, might have problems studying subjects involving specific terminology due to the abrupt transition from Russian to Ukrainian, Novosad said there would be a certain adaptation period, upon the expiration of which specialists might adjust the curricula.

"What is actually more important to us now is training teachers so that they're prepared to teach in the state language and level up their knowledge of terminology. We will arrange for special retraining courses for them, summer school, so that they can improve their knowledge of the language," she said.

Asked why Ukraine did not postpone the implementation of the language clauses of the law On Education until 2023 for those given instruction in Russian as it did for those studying in official EU languages, Novosad said this was prompted chiefly by the closeness between the Ukrainian and Russian languages.

Children currently receiving instruction at school in Russian will find it much easier to study Ukrainian and receive instruction in this language than, for instance, children receiving instruction in the Hungarian language, because Russian and Ukrainian belong to the same language group, and Ukrainian is always present to some extent, even in Russian-language environments, she said.

"This is an environment in which the Ukrainian language is heard anyway. Therefore, this transition will be less sensitive and less complicated for them," Novosad said.

As reported earlier, Russian-language schools in Ukraine are planning to switch to instruction in Ukrainian beginning in September, 2020.