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Nowadays, in a globalized world, the need for the fullest possible observance of the language interests of national minorities have been repeatedly stressed in the sphere of education. These interests are usually protected by a set of requirements that oblige state authorities to use certain languages in a number of contexts or not to interfere with the choice made by individuals regarding their language use and forms of expression (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2012). On this matter, the role of the government is a paramount of importance in supporting and maintaining minority languages by means certain educational reforms.
The local education reforms should be constructed based on the two basic levels: individual and collective (Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas, 1995). At an individual level, linguistic human rights stand for the freedom to learn the native language, and at the least the provision of primary education in his/her mother-tongue. Nevertheless, it does not implies the exclusion of official languages (majority languages), but means the inclusion of both minority and majority languages in education settings. In this regard, this contributes to the implementation of multilingualism in an education reform of a multinational country to keeping the balance between the languages. As for the collective level, it implies the coexistence of minority groups rights at the same level as the majority groups. This in particular includes “the right to enjoy and develop their language and the right for minorities to establish and maintain schools and other training and educational institutions, with control of curricula and teaching in their own languages” (Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas, 1995, p. 2). This again in turn leads to the introduction of multilingual education programs through encountering the recognition of minority languages at a political level by means of carefully designed language policy.
Therefore, the protection of the rights of minority groups at both individual and collective level constraining any kind of language discrimination is, indeed, an utmost important act. In this regard, the accessibility of education in minority languages at an individual level as an instrument for sustaining lasting bonds between minority and majority groups at a collective level contributes to ethnic harmony within a multilingual state.
Phillipson, R., & Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1995). Linguistic rights and wrongs. Applied Linguistics, 16(4), 483-504.
Skutnabb‐kangas, T. (2012). Linguistic human rights. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics.