14:39 12 Aug 2022

Ukrainian government developing law on English language's status in Ukraine

The Cabinet of Ministers is developing a draft law on English functioning as the language of international communication.

This was announced by Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy Rostyslav Karandieiev, Ukrinform reports.

"Expanding the fields of application of the English language in Ukraine will contribute to integrating Ukrainians into the European community within the expected acquisition of Ukraine's membership in the EU, form the state's subjectivity in the world globalization processes, increase its level of competitiveness on the global market, as well as grow its investment and tourism attractiveness," said the deputy minister.

According to him, the project's initiator was the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal. At the same time, during the development of the act, in addition to Culture Ministry, related institutions were involved, in particular, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice.

Karandieiev emphasized that English is currently the official language in 60 of the 196 countries of the world. According to the Eurobarometer regulatory project, it is the most common foreign language in 119 countries from 25 EU member states. According to the report, Ukraine ranks 40th in the ranking out of 112 countries, which is an average indicator. Therefore, giving the English language the appropriate status in the state is "a necessity and a strategic step towards EU membership."

According to the current version of the draft law, civil servants, in particular, heads of local administrations, military officers, chiefs of the middle and higher ranks of the National Police, and scientific and pedagogical workers of higher education institutions must be fluent in English. It is also expected to improve education standards, guidelines for learning English by all students, and the introduction of additional courses for adults. In addition, the scope of the use of the English language in areas related to foreigners, such as cultural institutions, transport, and international trade, is expanding.

Karandieiev noted that "from the moment of the adoption of this law, there will not be a requirement for mandatory English proficiency for all civil servants"; the implementation will require a long transition period.

According to him, there is a stable correlation between the level of the English language and several economic indicators, in particular, GDP, so its implementation will contribute to improving the export of services to Ukraine, as well as international or individual trade.

"None of the provisions of this law can be interpreted as aimed at narrowing the scope of the use of the state language," the government official noted. According to him, the state promotes the broadest possible education of Ukrainians while it does not threaten the Latinization of the Ukrainian language.

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