STA, February 13, 2018 – The National Assembly has amended the act governing special rights of the constitutionally recognised Italian and Hungarian minorities in education to state more precisely that bilingual school teachers need to command both languages and to enhance the state's commitment to fund higher education courses and teachers' education.
The most controversial provision in the amendments passed on Tuesday was the one dealing with the command of Slovenian and Hungarian as teaching languages.
Education Ministry State Secretary Andreja Barle Lakota said that the idea was to secure more bilingual teaching staff. In the region bordering Italy classes are conducted in Italian, while in Prekmurje in the north-east schools are bilingual, which Barle Lakota said was a more demanding model.
The amendments also expand the special rights of the Italian and Hungarian minorities to higher education and to education of teachers.
They also provide that in bilingual areas curricula, catalogues of skills and exams need to be bilingual as do skill competition tests for students at bilingual primary and secondary schools.
In addition parents are being given the right to enrol their children in a bilingual school or an Italian classes school even if they live outside bilingual areas.
The amendments were backed by 50 MPs with no votes against even though the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) was unhappy with the proposal, which their MP Jožef Horvat said was politically motivated.
The MPs representing two minorities, Laszlo Göncz and Roberto Battelli, both praised the amendments and the Education Ministry for the "professional and transparent" approach to them.