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Béla Gabóda: Minority schooling in Sub-Carpathia

In the autumn of 1944 the political situation changed completely in Sub-Carpathia. Under the authority of the Soviet army, a control and executive body called the People's Council was set up, the operation of which focused on justifying Soviet rule. This culminated in accepting "re-unification" as a fact, which had a fundamental effect on the ethnic composition of the region. The new power aimed at rapid and complete assimilation, including Slavic language assimilation. The Hungarian and German population was stigmatised as bearing the burdens of communal guilt, Ruthenians were declared Ukrainians and large scale migration into the region was initiated. Under these political conditions, a transitory period in the 1944/45 academic year can be understood to have occurred only conditionally, because there was no period of tolerance regarding the content of education. Only structural changes were postponed until the summer of 1945. Educational policy was made by the People's Council, which, among its first steps, prohibited the use of textbooks written in "foreign languages" and required those that had been published in the Soviet Union instead. These, however, did not arrive in quantities enough to supply all schools, and students were unable to study from them as they did not know Russian. Hungarian students were made to repeat grades to learn the language. Hungarian academic secondary schooling was abolished and only the Beregszász higher elementary school provided instruction in Hungarian. By the end of the academic year, many teachers had left the country. The authorities realised that a strategy change was required for the purposes of ideological education and re-orientation, which they considered most important. In the period after the war, 1945-46, Hungarian schools were improved and Hungarian language textbooks were published. In the 1950s Hungarian language instruction was improved. Previously mostly undivided, 4-grade elementary schools were replaced by compulsory 7-grade (general elementary) and partly by 10-grade secondary schooling. The first Hungarian secondary schools began operating in 1953/54. The "cultural revolution" was by then complete among Hungarian teens, as well. From the mid-1960s the number of schools with Hungarian-only instruction started to decrease. They were replaced by bi- or tri-lingual (Ukrainian-Hungarian and Russian-Hungarian; Ukrainian-Russian-Hungarian) schools, mostly in the Beregszász area. This tendency can be interpreted as a means of assimilation or, on the contrary, as a parental strategy to emphasise the majority language in order to broaden their children's chances of further education. In two decades the Soviet regime provided the conditions for mother tongue education, but the number of Hungarian schools did not change for a long time after this period. A slow rise began only at the end of the 1980s.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 101. Number 1. 109-132. (2001)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Gabóda Béla, Kárpátaljai Magyar Tanárképző Főiskola, Pedagógia és Pszichológia Tanszék, 90200 Ukrajna, Beregszász, Illyés Gyula sétány 1.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia