Hungarian news portal 24.hu claims that the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) is making it impossible for kindergartens that teach children a foreign language, be it English, French, or even Spanish. According to information obtained by 24.hu, since these are not ethnic languages, they cannot be taught in kindergarten, and the fact that the language of education is in one of these languages must also be removed from the name of the institutions.
According to the paper, one of the kindergartens using English-language education was recently ordered to immediately remove the reference that they are teaching English from the name of the institution and remove it from its education program as well. Other institutions have also recently reported that they received similar letters from the relevant government agency.
EMMI has not responded to 24.hu on the matter so far, but educational news portal Eduline writes that the background of the letters may be that according to the Ministry of Human Resources, the operation of kindergartens using foreign language training as a Hungarian public education institution is not legal, as these institutions are not ethnic kindergartens.
According to the letters sent on the basis of 24.hu’s report, in the case of non-ethnic kindergartens, where education can only take place in Hungarian, the inclusion of any term referring to foreign language education in the name of the institution is in conflict with the National Public Education Act. As they write, the government decree on the national basic program of kindergarten education does not provide for the possibility of teaching a foreign language, so it cannot be included in the kindergartens’ educational program either.
The letter also suggests a solution, saying that instead of English they may switch to German, as “according to the relevant legal regulations in force, English is not considered an ethnic language in Hungary, so kindergarten education in this language is not legal. However, in the framework of ethnic pre-school education, pre-school education in German as a recognized national language is possible.”
Government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi said there is no new rule, but a long-standing 10-year rule for kindergarten classes. According to this, foreign language classes can still be organized in kindergartens, there is no question of banning English language education.
featured photo: Attila Balázs/MTI