Bosniak pupils and their parents from Zvornik, who started a hunger strike on Wednesday, reached an agreement with the Head of Zvornik Municipality Zoran Stevanovic. The pupils - returnees to the Republika Srpska (RS) entity - were unable to study Bosnian language in local schools on territory of this town in east of Bosnia.
Contrary to the Bosnia’s state Constitution, which lists Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian languages as official languages in the country, Bosnian language does not exist in the RS entity as constitutional category. The RS Constitution recognizes only “the language of Bosniak people” but Bosniak returnees in this entity do not want this school subject to be listed in their children’s report cards.
Children of Bosniak ethnicity in Liplje near Zvornik have been boycotting classes since the beginning of the second part of the 2017/2018 school year. The parents demand that “Bosnian language”, instead of “the language of Bosniak people” is listed in the children’s report cards.
“We made a compromise that a request would be sent to the Ministry of Education and Culture by Wednesday to have our problem solved. We couldn’t allow that our children starve and suffer, because they haven’t been in classes for three months now,” said a representative of Bosniak parents in Zvornik, Muharem Sinanovic.
The RS Ministry of Education and Culture stated that the names of languages were defined by the RS Constitution and the laws, and it could not be a subject of discussion.
“The Ministry of Education and Culture respects the RS Constitution and laws, which treats the sector of education, and it does not deprive any people of the right to language,” the ministry said, adding that many cases were launched and they were all finalized in favour of the RS entity, “because the Ministry of Education and Culture enabled all children in the RS to have equal right to education.”