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The Governor of Carinthia, Jörg Haider, intends to present a brochure containing a positive description of his government's policy towards the Slovene minority in the province, to this week's European Union summit meeting in Portugal. Only 300 copies of the brochure are to be published. The publication is to contain facts and positive statements by representatives of the Slovenes. The recent agreement on minority schooling and bilingual education in the province, between the three main parties in Carinthia - and also according to "Kleine Zeitung" with the involvement of representatives of the Slovenes - is cited as another positive example of the policy. (more in German: http://www.hrvatskicentar.at/forum2/_disc/000000b8.htm)
However, the brochure has been sharply criticised in Carinthia, particularly concerning the agreement on the future of bilingual education. 'The agreement makes it possible to germanise the bilingual school system', says Vladimir Wakounig, from the University of Klagenfurt in Carinthia. Mr Wakounig is Deputy-Director of the Institute for Education and Research and works in the university's department for intercultural education.
Unlike the current system, in future it will not be necessary for teachers of bilingual classes and heads of bilingual schools to have qualifications in both languages. This means that the parties behind the agreement have acceded to a demand which has been put forward for many years by German nationalist groups such as the Carinthian Home Service (KHD). The [Slovene] teachers have rejected the agreement entirely', says Wakounig.
Several members of the Slovene minority have already expressed serious concern about the current debate, claiming that it risks discouraging parents from registering their children in bilingual classes.