Saakashvili Set His Tongue in Motion18.04.2011 | 21:01
By the Day of the National Language that was celebrated yesterday Mikhail Saakashvili had laid up a new initiative aimed at making national minorities study the Georgian language actively. He committed the Ministers of education and sport to develop the relevant program. The President of Georgia was not troubled even by the fact that such a program exists already and has been used for a long time. And the political expert Soso Tsintsadze confessed to the GeorgiaTimes correspondent that such a program had better be developed for Georgians themselves.
developed for Georgians themselves.
The program "Learn Georgian as Second Language" was launched in Georgia last year. It was meant for faster integration of ethnical minorities in the Georgian society. By all appearances, its first results did not satisfy the head of the state as yesterday he puzzled his officials with the development of a new concept that would accelerate the process of assimilation of the non-Georgian population of the country. At the same time, as usual, Mikhail Saakashvili was guided by the most benevolent intentions.
"I am worried that several thousands of our citizens living in the areas of compact ethnical groups, despite the measures taken, do not master Georgian on a level enabling them to make a successful career", the Georgian leader shared his concern with the Ministers of education and sport Dmitry Shashkin and Vladimir Vardzelashvili, as well as with the governors of Kvemo-Kartli and Samtskhe-Djavakheti David Kirkitadze and Lasha Tchkadu. Now they must "set a course for making all non-Georgian language schools teach 30% of the subjects in Georgian".
In the opinion of Mikhail Saakashvili, increments by 200 lari to the salaries of the teachers who will teach their subjects in two languages (the local national minority one and the state one) must help in reaching this objective. The president also considers it necessary to build "Houses of the Georgian language" in the settlements of ethnical minorities and to organize mandatory courses of the state language in summer camps for children.
"This year we must double the category of ethnical minorities visiting summer camps. At least half of the contingent must be ethnical Armenians and Azerbaijanians. It is good that we have a lot of ethnical groups, but our camps must have teachers of Georgian for such children to study Georgian for at least an hour a day", believes the Georgian leader. In his opinion, the policy of imposing the state language on the young representatives of national minorities will favour the reinforcement of social consensus.
"This is a historical moment in the consolidation of the Georgian statehood and in the integration of these people. Georgia belongs to all ethnical groups equally, and this should not be just declared", Mikhail Saakashvili is sure. In his interview to the GeorgiaTimes correspondent a political expert from Tbilisi Soso Tsintsadze stressed the importance of proficiency in the state language for successful socialization of ethnical minorities. However, he found difficulty in saying why the president raised the question again if similar programs are already being implemented. At the same time Tsintsadze believes that Georgians themselves have much more need for such language programs.
"The problem is that even in Tbilisi, even on television and in the press barbarisms are encountered more and more often. Even some journalists for whom the Georgian language, both written and verbal, is actually the main instrument of their daily work cannot avoid them. Sometimes, while reading our press or listening to our TV presenters, we wonder what incredible blunders Georgian make in their language. So the need for mastering the literary Georgian language, not the street tongue or the prison talk, touches upon not only the national minorities but first of all Georgians themselves", the expert said to the GeorgiaTimes correspondent.
Saakashvili is not the only one who got concerned with the destiny of national outskirts yesterday. The State Minister for the issues of reintegration Eka Tkeshelashvili also made her voice heard on the ethnical minorities. She suggested the citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should switch to "neutral status" Georgian documents without state symbols of Sakartvelo. In such a manner Mrs. Tkeshelashvili hopes to withdraw the citizens of the autonomous republics that declared their independence "from the sphere of Russian passportization". In the minister's opinion, the "neutral status" documents let Abkhazians and Ossetians move legally outside their republics and "receive funds for education in different countries from the fund of the Georgian president and of other programs".
"Our citizens will be enabled to obtain a lawful document instead of illegal Russian passports. To ensure maximum involvement of people living on the occupied territories the document will not have the state symbols of Georgia and will not represent a certificate of citizenship. The document will be made by the same company that makes Georgian passports upon the identification of the person according to the register, but will not be biometrical", said the State Minister for the issues of reintegration.