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Education in Akhalgori schools launched in Russian

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, September 6
The de facto South Ossetian authorities have replaced the Georgian language with Russian at the schools and kindergartens of occupied Akhalgori, where the majority of locals are Georgians.

The changes to the education system of Akhalgori schools have come into effect from September 2017, and the educational process will be now conducted in Russian, while the Georgian language will be taught as a separate subject.

The changes refer to all six schools and two kindergartens in town. In primary classes and nursery schools, Russian has entirely replaced Georgian, which means that all lessons will be conducted in Russian.

Despite the fact that the majority of schoolchildren do not speak Russian, their parents and the principals avoid speaking about the problem.

Nugzar Tinikashvili, Chairman of the Akhalgori Municipality [of the Georgian government] stated last month that the changes are aimed at forcing the local Georgians to leave the town.

“Georgian parents will not bring their children to Russian and Ossetian groups at schools and kindergartens and they will be forced to leave Akhalgori,” he stated.

There are 140 Georgian teachers at Akhalgori schools, and the recent changes in the education system of the town will probably leave them without jobs, as the majority are not fluent in Russian.

Last month, Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, stated that receiving an education in one’s native language is a fundamental human right.

“The actions of the de facto authorities are another step within the policy of Russification,” she stressed in August.

The minister promised that Tbilisi would use all possible international formats to prevent Akhalgori locals from suffering any discrimination. However, the reality shows that the locals must either put up with the occupation regime or leave their homes and become internally displaced with the rest of the 20, 270 IDPs in Georgia.

A total of 20 percent of Georgia’s territory became occupied by the Russian Federation after the August 2008 Georgia-Russian war.

Besides Akhalgori, the education system was switched from Georgian into Russian in occupied Gali, in the region of Abkhazia.