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Hungary names the problem

Confusion reigns in Hungary’s English-medium kindergarten sector after these institutions received letters in November from the Ministry of Human Resources informing them that – as the languages they work in are not among the official ‘ethnic languages’ of Hungary – these languages cannot be used in kindergarten.

The Ministry’s letter also ordered kindergartens to rename themselves to remove references to foreign languages. French and Spanish kindergartens also received these letters. German kindergartens are apparently unaffected, German being an ‘ethnic language’ of Hungary.

The following day a clarification was issued by a government spokesperson – English-medium kindergartens were, it seems, not banned after all.

Apparently the regulations in question – dating from 2010 – cover only the names that kindergartens can use. Foreign-language kindergartens will, it seems, still have to change their names. Hungarian-medium kindergartens that have only a few hours a week of English will also have to take the word ‘English’ out of the title of their institution.

Image courtesy of Laszlo Vegh
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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