SLOVAK children may be at a disadvantage in the EU market for not speaking foreign languages, as many regional schools complain that they are unable to attract qualified language teachers.
According to the daily Pravda, a number of smaller regional schools are having problems with hiring qualified English and German language teachers, largely because of the overall low salaries that the sector offers.
As a result, schools are forced to hire unqualified staff, including university students or teachers who themselves lack the appropriate language qualifications.
"We not only lack teachers but also textbooks," said Csilla Seboková, principal of an elementary school in the southern Slovak village of Batka.
Slovakia is expected to join the EU in May of next year, but signs suggest that many Slovak children will not be able to succeed on the international job market, because they lack the necessary language skills.
Julius Karas, head of the education division of the district office in Rimavská Sobota, said: "Our children will not enter the EU skilled in languages. Only recently we were faced with the problem that we only have two qualified English language teachers in the whole district."
22. Sep 2003 at 0:00 | From press reports