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Montenegro Minister Accused of Undermining Cyrillic

Opposition party says it will seeks education minister's resignation because of what it calls discrimination against the Cyrillic script in schools.

This article is also available in: Shqip Македонски Bos/Hrv/Srp

Cyrillc aphabet in Serbian language. Photo: Wikipedia/ Ivan.

Montenegro’s opposition Socialist People’s Party, SNP, said it will file on Wednesday a motion to dismiss the Education Minister, Predrag Boskovic, because of his alleged “persecution of Cyrillic” and discrimination in schools against pupils who use this script.

The move came after top students in primary and secondary schools last week for the first time since World War II received their “Luca” diplomas – named after the poem of the Montenegrin ruler and poet Njegos – printed in the Latin alphabet.

Diplomas in the Cyrillic script can be obtained only with the approval of the school administration.

The opposition claims that in several schools in the north of the country, students have been told that schools do not have enough forms for the Cyrillic diplomas and they can only get them in Latin script.

Montenegro has one official language, Montenegrin, but four in “official use” – Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian and Albanian. It also uses two alphabets, Latin and Cyrillic.

Disputes about languages and scripts have been common since the country regained its independence in 2006, as they are widely considered a badge of ethnic membership.

Snezana Jonica, an MP from the opposition SNP, on Wednesday said the party will submit the final text for the dismissal motion and called on other opposition parties to support the initiative.

“Instead of making sure that heating is working in schools, so the students do not have to sit in snow jackets in classrooms, the minister has decided to turned the Luca diploma into Latin [script], although Njegos’ work, after which it was named, was written in Cyrillic,” Jonica said.

If the motion wins the support of at least 27 MPs in the 81-seat parliament, lawmakers will discuss the dismissal of the minister at the ongoing session.

After Montenegro split from the state union with Serbia, the 2007 constitution stipulated that Montenegrin was the sole official language. In 2010, the government then ruled that Montenegrin grammar must be used in schools, which pro-Serbian parties and Serbs organizations in the country opposed.

They claimed that the decision “confirmed the Serbian language and Cyrillic script as a minority language”.

An agreement in 2011 between the government and the pro-Serbian opposition parties envisaged changes to the education law so that pupils would study “Montenegrin-Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian language and literature”.

The 2011 census revealed that over 40 per cent of people in Montenegro say they speak Serbian, even though less than 30 per cent declared their ethnicity as Serbian.

This article is also available in: Shqip Македонски Bos/Hrv/Srp

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