Will Georgia become an English speaking country?
By Messenger Staff
Friday, September 17Obligatory English studies have become essential for Georgia's current administration, not only from an educational point of view, but also from a political perspective. “We should become a country which speaks English,” sated President Saakashvili, demanding to take steps actively. However, this determination of the current leadership has already caused certain irritation in the public and it could yield some negative results. “If during the communist regime, somebody would say that we needed to introduce 10 000 teachers of Russian, the whole of Georgia would consolidate with the claim of Russification. I do not understand. Will learning English mean that the country will develop? No. Saakashvili wants to bring up Georgians as a servant nation waiting for somebody to visit and therefore to know how to serve them,” stated the poet Bagatur Arabuli.
There is an opinion among the Georgian population that the high ranking officials themselves do not know and respect their native language, preferring instead to read and communicate in English. There are many questions. Even during the communist regime, apart from Russian, other foreign languages were taught and everybody had the opportunity to choose between French, German or English. Now Russian is neglected almost completely and everybody should know English, how about other languages? What if a talented youngster wants to become a painter and wants to know Italian? Would he not be accepted into the art academy because of this shortcoming? Similar questions are asked permanently. Of course, the ruling administration will ignore such statements and opinions. However, one should say for certain that this initiative eventually will backfire and people will start to operate under the banner of the protection of our mother tongue. There is an opinion among the population that the ruling authorities want to make English language one of the state languages and that higher education will be conducted in English. It should be remembered that when such initiatives came from Moscow, they were condemned, protested against and opposed even during the red regime.
The accelerated process of anglicizing Georgia's education, business and everyday life is here and it provokes a feeling of protest in the mood of the population. This could possibly evolve into anti-English sentiments, some time from now. Certain forces might use this to further split society and could give the opposition extra ammunition for its confrontation against the ruling power. So, it seems that a controversial step has been taken which will provide yet another challenge for the country.