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Linguistic Rights in the Education System in Light of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (By the Example of Poland and Lithuania)

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One of the fields of protecting human rights within the framework of standards of the Council of Europe is the protection of national minorities – with the special issue of their linguistic rights. An intensification of actions aimed at adopting legal measures in this field happened in the 1960s. The concern for a proper range and level of regulation was expressed at the level of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers. National experts formulated detailed resolutions to include the goals of international organizations such as CSCE and the United Nations concerning this matter. The fact that the framework convention was chosen as the means bears witness to a significant provision that the guarantee of rights were realized in the most flexible manner, including the designations and capacities of State parties.

This article includes an analysis of three stages of work connected with ensuring linguistic rights for national minorities, with a special emphasis on the linguistic rights in the education system. On the one hand, actions which resulted in the acceptance of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities are shown. On the other hand, the goals and details of this Convention are described. The third section concerns the analysis of mechanisms for monitoring the realization of the rights included in the Convention. Due to limitations in the terms of reference for this work, the analysis of the convention guarantees, and their realization, was limited to linguistic rights in the education system. The practice of these actions was shown through examples in Poland and Lithuania.

The right to education for national minorities (in a general sense) including knowledge about their culture, traditions, and their input into the development of the society of a given country is one of the rights clearly stated in the Framework Convention. By the same token are linguistic rights in an education system – the right to teach the language of a national minority or to teach in the language of a minority. As practice in Poland and Lithuania shows, the situation of education of national minorities is different, although some of the problems are common: an example for that would be access to proper coursebooks in the languages of national minorities, or properly trained teachers.

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Philosophy, other