Children at Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge schools now have the opportunity to learn the Chechen language if they want to.
Pankisi Community Radio Way reported that this new academic year, Pankisi schools offered Chechen language as an optional course.
Pankisi Gorge is a valley mainly inhabited by Kists – a Chechen sub-ethnos - in northeastern Georgia that borders the Chechnyan republic of the Russian Federation.
Although Georgia’s Kists speak fluent Georgian, they had long been asking for the opportunity to learn Chechen at schools.
As Radio Way reported, the new course was offered to fifth and sixth graders. Chechen was not a mandatory subject but it was available to fifth and sixth graders who wanted to learn it.
Head of the public school in Duisi Village in Pankisi Gorge, Lili Sviakauri, told the local radio there were no relevant books for older students but once the learning books were available Chechen language would be taught in higher grades too.
Sviakauri also said teachers would go through special training to teach the new subject. She added Duisi school would have two Chechen language teachers while other Pankisi schools would have one teacher each.
It was reported Georgia’s Education Ministry would provide the Gorge with books for older students next year.
Chechen language isn’t part of Georgia’s National Curriculum however the country-wide study plan for 2011-2016 said schools where ethnic minority students studied had the right to teach the relevant language.
Schools have the right, based on their resources and students’ interests, to offer different optional courses,” the National Curriculum stated.
If a school wanted to offer an ethnic minority language, it should request permission from the country’s Education Minister.