Ethno-linguistic problems and prospects in educational sphere of the Russian Republics (the case of Bashkortostan)
Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Senior Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Inter-Ethnic Relations, Institute of Sociology, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia email@example.com
This article presents an analysis of ethno-linguistic issues in education in the specific legal context of the Russian republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. The importance of language to the identity of Russian citizens was analyzed using empirical data from a nationwide poll conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences as well as expert and in-depth interviews and observations. The results demonstrate high importance of language as an ethnic marker. The main changes of language policy in Russia and in the Russian republics in particular in the post-Soviet era are also discussed. The research indicates that the adoption of language laws in the republics to provide state protection for official languages has shifted the focus of ethno-linguistic issues in the 2000s away from problems stemming from the lack of recognition of language as a constitutional right toward the problems associated with ethnic languages in education. In the case of the Republic of Bashkortostan the author analyzes the key controversies in the field of school education. These concern the functioning of the official languages of the Republic and the first languages, the quality of the educational materials, effectiveness of the teaching of the Bashkir language as an official to all school students of the republic. Differences and similarities in the situations in Bashkortostan and Tatarstan were also identified. Two key discourses in the study and discussion of the problems of ethno-linguistic situations were analyzed. These are the defense discourse and discourse of the free language choice based on the peoples’ pragmatic motives.
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