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Kurdish Language Education in Syria, the USSR and the Diaspora

Mother tongue education has never authorized by any Syrian government in spite of the efforts made by the Kurds (cf. 5.4.0). In the USSR, Kurmanji was used as a teaching language only prior to World War II. Later, Kurmanji language and literature were taught as one subject in the otherwise Armenian and Russian curriculum (cf. 5.5.0; 7.2.6).

Mother tongue education was provided in the 1980s for the children of the growing number of political refugees in the Scandinavian countries, Germany and France. A teacher training course was sponsored by the Nordic Cultural Foundation in Denmark in 1980 (cf. 5.3.0.B). In 1984, the Swedish government initiated a training program in both Kurmanji and Sorani in the teachers school of Stockholm (Högskolan for Lärarutbildning i Stockholm) which also publishes a journal in Kurdish, Mamostayê Kurd (Kurdish Teacher). According to Izol (1985), there were 99 students (82 Kurmanji speaking and 17 Sorani), eight teachers and 200 hours of teaching (171 in Kurmanji and 29 in Sorani) during 1984-85.

Consistent with the general pattern of minority language education in the West, Kurdish children reject their native tongue soon after they resettle in the new country (for information on first generation Kurdish children in Sweden, cf. Shakali 1989, and a brief book review by A. Hassanpour in Abstracta Iranica, No. 14, forthcoming). Language loss will certainly occur in the second generation (cf. 10.3.6).

Source: Dr. Amir Hassanpour, "Nationalism and Language in Kurdistan 1918-1985", 1992.

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