Roma people make one of Bosnia's seventeen minority groups whose language is facing extinction. Schools in the northeastern Tuzla region might change it as they plan to introduce Romani language in their curriculum.
The last population census in Bosnia registered over 12,000 Romani people in the country but this minority group claims this number is higher and that many refused to declare as Roma.
Those who did declare as Roma are using their mother language but mostly in their homes.
“One's mother language is not something you forget. We're an ethnic minority that is using their own. We don't need it everywhere but when it is necessary we must use our language,” said Naza Jusic, a Roma woman.
She had learned the Romani language from her parents and taught her own children and grandchildren to speak it as Bosnia's educational system doesn't provide this option to Roma children.
But, this is likely to change soon.
Tuzla Canton authorities are working on the curriculum that will enable teaching of Romani language in local schools.
“The next step is training the staff with our (Tuzla) University or other universities, who will be teaching the Romani language in elementary schools. I have to stress it, those teachers don't have to be Roma people,” said Nedzad Jusic of the 'Euro Rom' association.
The subject of Romani language would go along with culture, tradition and history of Roma people, and offered as an optional subject in schools where this is needed.
“I hope we'll be able to offer to all students during the next school year, regardless of their ethnicity, to select as optional the Romani language,” said a representative of the Tuzla Canton Education Ministry, Fikret Vrtagic.