U.S. English Foundation Research



Language Research

3. Language issues: Where does one observe language to be a problem in the country?

The law provides for the educational rights of ethnic minorities, including the right to be taught in their own language. However, controversy has arisen over the publishing of Lithuanian textbooks. In February 1998, the Lithuanian Ambassador to Poland, Antanas Valionis, complained to the Polish Minister of Education Miroslaw Handke that since 1991, 172 editions of textbooks in Polish had been published in Lithuania. Conversely, only four Lithuanian textbooks had been published in Poland since 1989. Mr. Valionis also noted that during 1997 Lithuania, despite significantly more modest financial resources published twenty-seven different textbooks for the 20,000 Polish pupils in Lithuania, while Poland published only three for Lithuanian pupils in Poland. There are approximately 800 ethnic Lithuanian students in 18 schools of various levels ranging from preschool to high school and vocational school. Some controversy continued during the year, but the two Governments continue to negotiate on issues related to minorities in their respective countries.