MINELRES: Tatiana Corai on the Romanian Schools in Transnistria

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Tatiana CORAI

Romanian Schools in Hostage Role
October 15 2001 

The escape of Tiraspol authorities from under the Moldovan state's
control has been more and more acutely felt by the ordinary citizens on
the right bank of Nistru river, on whom the whole secessionist policy
has had an impact. Used to the festive cannon roars launched on November
7, on the Russian Revolution Day and on September 2, the day of setting
up of the self-proclaimed Moldovan Nistrean republic, the ordinary
people cannot get used to the flagrant violation of their natural
rights. Thus, Tiraspol authorities refuse Moldovan children from
villages and towns over the Nistru river, to enjoy their rights to speak
and write in their native language, Romanian, for purely ideological
reasons. 7 Moldovan schools of the total number of over 50 felt forced
to declare themselves "foreign schools" in order to be able to continue
their activity in Romanian. The others were forced to give up on the
Latin alphabet and function in the so-called "Moldovan language" with
the Cyrillic alphabet. The 7 Romanian institutions, "foreign" on
Transnistria'a territory, have been taken over into the subordination of
Chisinau Ministry of Education. The "Moldovan" schools are at Tiraspol's
discretion. But all of them are still threatened by the Transnistrian
regime, being, in some cases, treated like hostages. 

Customs Stamp Causes New Pressures 

The failure of the negotiations between President Voronin and the
leadership of the self-proclaimed Moldovan Nistrian republic has aroused
another wave of pressure over the Romanian schools in Transnistria.
After ten years, during which the local authorities have done nothing to
improve the material situation of schools, today they claim that the
respective schools may not renew their activity licenses, since they do
not have the elementary education conditions. The director of Tiraspol
school No. 20 thinks that license renewal is just an excuse, and that
Tiraspol authorities are actually pursuing the closing of Romanian
education institutions within the territory. The exertion of pressure
has not ceased since their opening and until now. The procedures thereof
have been different, too. The school No. 20 was initially given an
inadequate building, deprived of the elementary conditions. Meanwhile,
the school director has managed to bring it up to as acceptable
conditions as possible and to buy the necessary equipment. The school
No. 19 of Tighina has as its premises-the forest folder in the town's
outskirts. The alternative school No. 1 of Grigoriopol has not been able
to be legalized for five years and is forced to function
surreptitiously. The 800 Moldovan school students of Ribnita have only
four classrooms at their disposal. And the school in Dubasari is
dislocated in a damaged building, a former old people asylum. During
these years Tiraspol authorities not only have done nothing for them,
but have done a lot against them. For example, a school with the
instruction in "Moldovan" language with Cyrillic characters and supplied
with the most modern equipment has been opened across the building of
school No. 20. According to the school director Ion Iovcev, the
authorities' purpose was to convince parents to transfer their children
across the street and to forget the Latin alphabet. But their purpose
has not had the expected result: the Romanian school students have not
swallowed the "bait". The same school is being proposed now to move to a
former kindergarten building, which is situated several kilometers away
from the town. The authorities of the Moldovan Nistrean republic want to
push as far away as possible the "danger of Romanization" which has been
invented by their hot minds as well. 

"Moldovan" Schools Have No Perspectives 

A way of keeping the Moldovans from Transnistria away from civilization
are the so-called Moldovan schools (32 of them) and the mixed ones (15)
in which 12 thousand students are studying. The schools, besides
teaching in the Cyrillic alphabet, are acutely lacking in teaching
staff. According to some data of Tiraspol ministry of education, only 21
teachers out of 856 are highly qualified, while 379 are not qualified at
all. 177 do not have university degrees. 50 per cent of "Moldovan"
language and literature teachers are not specialized in linguistics. All
Moldovan schools function according to old curricula and textbooks, and
the content of education is ideologized. Students continue to study the
history and geography of URSS - of a state that has disappeared from all
maps, but obstinately left in the Transnistrian curricula. Arts and
music is taught once in two weeks. The history of Romanians is
forbidden. In comparison with them, Russian school students have not
only be! tter study conditions, but also more advanced curricula and
textbooks. Thus, the Transnistrian Moldovans practically do not have a
choice - they must either stay in the so-called Moldovan schools, which
provide them an undeveloped level, or to abandon them and enroll in
Russian schools. According to a survey conducted within the Civil
Society Program, about 60 per cent of Moldovan children are forced, for
different reasons, to attend Russian schools. The survey shows that 66
per cent of local children would like to study in Romanian but do not
have the possibility. 

"Red Terror" Is Still Terror 

Valeriu Pasat, director of the Information and Security Service, stated
several weeks ago in Parliament that the Republic of Moldova could find
itself in absolute isolation, as a state unable to control its
territory. He was referring to the Transnistrian munitions negotiated by
Islamic emissaries, which the Western press also wrote about. Being out
of any controls, Transnistria is seen by more and more people as a track
for world terrorism, a track that starts the "red terror" itself,
unleashed here through the anti-Romanian propaganda broadcast non-stop
on radio and TV stations, through the senseless ideologization of
education, through the forced Russification of the Moldovan population.
This type of terror does not essentially differ from the terror of
Islamic fundamentalists: those who are today cutting off the future of
Moldovan children from Transnistria are not far away from those who
chopped off the towers of New York strategic buildings on September 11
of this year.