Thousands protest language law

  • 2011-09-26
  • TBT Staff

Kubilius adn Tusk earlier this month set up a joint taskforce to handle the sensitive issue. (photo: Prime Ministers office of Poland.)

VILNIUS -- Thousands of ethnic Poles have again taken to the streets in Vilnius to protest a new language law that would force all schools in the country to teach certain classes in Lithuanian.

Lithuania has a huge Polish minority and a number of schools that teach in Polish.

The new law would introduce standardized testing in Lithuanian at the highest grades, as well as making Lithuanian language and history courses mandatory for younger students.

Around 5,000 people, mainly students, took part in the protest Friday. Older students worry that they will be asked to perform at the same level as their Lithuanian counterparts when they have't been raised with the language skills to compete.

Another set of protests earlier this month were called off after an emergency visit to Lithuania of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. During the visit, Tusk and Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius set up a joint taskforce to address the issue of education.

The law is due to come into effect in 2013.