Finland : Awareness of minority languages in education and media should be improved

05-10-2018, 10:31 | Comments: 0
While the Committee of Experts of The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, acknowledges the efforts undertaken by the authorities in protecting regional and minority languages spoken in Finland, it recommends that further measure are needed, according to a report published yesterday.

Swedish has a strong position as a national language in Finland, nevertheless, there are shortcomings in the use of Swedish in respect of judicial and administrative authorities, in healthcare and social services, mostly due to lack of sufficient linguistic competencies.

Concerning the Sami languages, progress has been made in the development of teaching materials and the provision of “language nests”; however, there are still problems with language training and the use of the Sami languages in healthcare and social services is limited. Further, the Committee of Experts recommends that education in the Sami languages should be extended into territories outside the Sami Homeland, where more than 60% of the Sami people live.

The position of Romani is weak and a revitalisation programme of the language is urgently needed. Tertiary education in Romani has been introduced at the University of Helsinki, but in compulsory education the teaching of Romani is very limited.

On the positive side an action plan for the revival of Karelian was launched in 2017, but in general, awareness of minority languages in education and media should be improved, the Committee of Experts concluded.

The Finnish authorities submitted their fifth periodical report with a delay of more than six years, which seriously hampers the effectiveness of the monitoring mechanism.

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages entered into force in Finland in 1998 and applies to the following languages: Karelian, Romani, Russian, Inari, North and Skolt Sami, Swedish, Tatar and Yiddish.

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