news 22 Feb 13

Schools Start Teaching Bosniak in Serbian Sandzak

Primary level and high schools in the mainly Bosniak [Muslim] southwest Sandzak region of Serbia have started teaching classes in the Bosniak language.

Bojana Barlovac

Students in 12 schools in the Sandzak region had their first classes in the Bosniak language on International Mother Tongue Day, February 21.

Esad Dzudzevic, president of the Bosniak National Council, said some 500 primary and high school pupils in Novi Pazar, Tutin, Sjenica and Prijepolje on Thursday took a class in history and culture in Bosniak.

"Students will be having courses in the Serbian language and culture regularly, just as before, but they will also have five courses in the Bosniak language per week," Dzudzevic said on Thursday.

Other subjects, including mathematics, arts, music, will start in Bosniak in late March. "The translation of those textbooks is underway," Dzudzevic explained.

In April, parents of the students in the four towns will have to declare whether they want their children taught in Bosniak or Serbian in the next school year.

The move comes after the Education Ministry gave the go-ahead to a project to introduce Bosniak lto schools that has been on the shelves for four years.

Bosniak differs little from Serbian or Croatian and has more or less the same grammar but some different words.

It is one of several languages to have gained separate status following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, since when use of the old term "Serbo-Croat" has become unpopular, each independent republic now insisting on a form of linguistic independence as well.

According to the 2011 census, Sandzak is home to 142,373 Bosniaks who make up about 60 per cent of the population. There are 77,565 Serbs (32.48 per cent). Another 12,441 simply declared themselves "Muslims" (5.21 per cent).

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