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Gal district to break language barrier2011-03-18 13:37
Georgia becomes concerned over a possibility that Georgians will start speaking the Abkhaz language. Mass media angrily react to the news on Abkhaz TV that the Public Chamber of Abkhazia will hold a visiting session in Gal district of the republic to discuss problems of Abkhaz and Russian language learning. Most residents of the district speak Georgian and their Abkhaz and Russian language competence is poor.
Akhra Kvekveskiri has been living in Gal for ten years. He is a teacher of the Abkhaz language, and has been principal in a local school over the past few years. He is one of the few Abkhaz teachers who came here out of patriotism. At that time the state did not have special programs of financial motivation for teachers that worked in Gal district. 90% of the local population consists of ethnic Georgians isolated from the rest of Abkhazia.
Kvekveskiri says that it's impossible to do without a special state program of Abkhaz and Russian language learning. Yesterday members of the Public Chamber of Abkhazia came there to hold a visiting session and hear speeches of Kvekveskiri and other teachers. The conclusion was to build a special boarding school for Georgian children in Gal district. Yet, the idea immediately found its opponents from the other side of the Ingur river, naturally. Georgian mass media got hysterical that school children in Gal district will devote more time to Abkhaz and Russian language learning. This is a short-sighted position. If Georgia was a bit more proactive, any integration of Georgians from Gal district into the Abkhaz society would be favored. This satuation, when most school-leavers of local schools don't speak either Russian, or Abkhaz, makes Georgian population leave Abkhazia.
Gal district has 24 schools with three of them having curricula in Russian, Georgian and Abkhaz languages. Lessons in the rest of the schools are conducted in Georgian. But this is only one part of the problem. Another thing is that these Georgian-language schools have Georgian curricula adopted by the ministry of education of Georgia. That means children of Gal district study history and geography from textbooks published in Sakartvelo. These textbooks state that the country they live in is part of Georgia. History of Abkhazia is also falsified. After these children that speak unwritten Megrel and Georgian leave school they have no other choice but continue their education in Georgia. There are no Georgian sectors in higher educational institutions of Abkhazia. Besides, young residents of Gal district simply can't communicate with their compatriots because of the language barrier. The State University of Abkhazia has only twenty students from Gal district - a miserly figure. In fact, these students come from schools where part of the subjects is taught in Russian.
Georgia still believes that Abkhazia is not lost forever. If Tbilisi could see the world with sober eyes, it would see that Georgia should be interested in Gal district integration into Abkhaz population. The Georgian community of Gal district remains the only interlink between two republics. Georgians from Gal district represented in business and political activities may become intermediaries in settling down the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict in the future.
Today's situation is aimed at forcing Georgians out of Abkhazia. Not speaking languages, they can't continue education, have a career or make a living. That is why young people either leave, or just degrade in their villages. Presently population of some of the villages consists only of elderly people.