Germany: Improve education on national minorities and support for Sinti and Roma, says Council of Europe committee

Representatives of national minorities in Germany express concern about the lack of education about their history, culture and contribution to German society among the majority population. This concern is highlighted in an opinion published by Council of Europe experts on Germany’s implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM).

The opinion notes some progress in education, but gaps remain. For example, representatives of the Danish minority express “general satisfaction” with the knowledge of their minority within the Land of Schleswig-Holstein. The fact that some German schools in the region teach Danish as a foreign/neighbouring language is appreciated, but people from other parts of Germany know “very little” about their minority.

Representatives of the Frisians find that children in the North Frisian region learn too little about Frisian culture, history and language. Information about the Frisians is only available to a very limited extent in science (Sachkunde) of Schleswig-Holstein’s elementary school curricula and is not addressed in secondary school, “although it would be interesting for adolescents as part of defining their identity”, according to the opinion. In addition, the teaching of North Frisian and Sorbian and Sater suffers from a “serious shortage” of teachers.

The opinion also notes that school curricula for the education of national minorities vary “tremendously” between the 16 states or federal state. Advisory Committee finds “little progress” for example in coordinated education for all federal state on Sinti and Roma, as reported by the Standing Conference of German Ministers of Culture and Education.

Among the recommendations for “immediate action”, the Advisory Committee urges the authorities to ensure that pupils across Germany are informed about the history and contribution of the Frisians, Danes, Sinti, Roma and from the Sorbs to German society. Such teaching would “create an understanding of continuity and the benefits of diversity.”

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Germany: Improve education on national minorities and support for Sinti and Roma, says Council of Europe committee

FCNM and Germany

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