Language Matters in Ukraine’s Educational Reform | Commentary

john-mark-kuznietsov-134302 (1)Recently, the Washington Post wrote about the law restructuring Ukraine’s education system and establishing Ukrainian as the main language in schools. The new law concerns neighboring countries such as Russia and Hungary about the rights of ethnic minorities.

Why do I consider that important? In addition to creating political tensions in the region, this action may lead the country to a lack of unity and economic inefficiency. By reducing the role of other languages, even though they are clearly present in the country’s cultural mix, the new law segregates between those who speak Ukrainian and those who don’t. It can create an identity problem since language is one of the key-factors that compose one’s sense of belonging.

The new law can have economic consequences as well. It may limit work and educational potential by excluding a part of the population. According to the Post, about 30 percent of Ukrainians called Russian their mother tongue in the 2001 census. There are about 150,000 ethnic Hungarians in the country, accompanied by other minorities such as Romanians and Moldovans. Everyone who does not speak the official language may start facing inequality of payment and lack of work opportunity.

Instead of imposing limitations, it may be worth to embrace the different ethnicities and harness the diverse heritage from its people. Doing so may help inducing an inclusive educational environment and offer steps to guarantee an even more rich economy in the coming years. Just imagine all the business Ukraine can do in Hungary and Russia.

International marketing is a useful answer to a population which benefits from diverse capabilities.

(Click here to read the Washington Post article.)

There is Nothing Wrong With Civility

There is a new, more dramatic form of hostility in the media and their users. I knew that but only now have experienced it with an anvil falling on me. I wrote an article for The Hill which distributes news in and around the US Capitol, entitled, “Thanks to Trump, America Shows True Leadership on the World Stage,” and the article triggered over 550 comments.

To my dismay, the article did not garner thought-provoking debate, but rather a disparage of uninformed commentary. Many writers had appeared to not even have read the article. Commentators argued primarily about the fact that Trump is not a leader, that they do not like him or his cabinet appointments, and disagree with his international performance. An overwhelming 575 out of the 582 of the comments were negative, while only three commentators made direct reference to the author and the article itself.

Commentators did not even address the arguments made in the article. Rather they used my thoughts as a platform for entirely extraneous arguments. There were continuously scrolling pages of hateful comments and threats aimed as a reply to specific earlier comments made. Users called each other names and created a fiercely hostile environment against freedom of speech.

There was no “conversation” or “discourse” or even arguments among people on the subject. It appears to me that neither readers nor writers learned new aspects due to the comments from the blog. They also clearly appeared not to be looking for such edification.

When making comments, readers should do themselves, their friends (and even their antagonists) a favor. Next time one encounters an article with a disagreeable title or first sentence, it should be read, thought about, and then commented on. Education and learning is the best form of artillery in an argument