Karelia Launches New Language Education Program

The Karelian Ministry of Education has launched a new program aimed at promoting use and comprehension of the Karelian language. This program will increase funding for Karelian language curricula in primary and secondary schools. Within five years it hopes to see mandatory basic courses on Karelian in all primary schools, as well as optional more advanced classes offered in Karelian as well as Novegradian.

Out of the five republics within Novegrad, Karelia has the lowest usage rate of its national language. Only about 7% of the population use Karelian as their primary language, and only 24% of the entire population can claim fluency. Many of these speakers know Finnish as well, and may revert to Finnish whenever they come across a topic they are not as comfortable dealing with in Karelian.

The Karelian language is still battling a stigma of being an uneducated language not fit for many modern-day uses. Today the majority of Karelian speakers live in the countryside, while Finnish and Novegradian dominate cultural and intellectual life in the cities. While quite a few people may use Karelian for daily-to-day matters in the home, few prefer it in business or educational settings.

Currently many schools have optional Karelian language courses, though relatively few offer classes in Karelian beyond primary school.

The Ministry of Education has been working with the Ministry of Culture and various other groups and hopes to see more widespread comprehension, usage, and acceptance of Karelian throughout the Karelian Republic.