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SNS rejects Čaplovič's plan for broader education bill

The governing-coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) views as dangerous Deputy Premier Dušan Čaplovič's idea to set up a group that would draw up a new amendment involving many more issues than the much-discussed geographical names in minority textbooks if MPs don't overrule President Ivan Gašparovič's veto of the previous textbook bill, the TASR newswire wrote.

The governing-coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) views as dangerous Deputy Premier Dušan Čaplovič's idea to set up a group that would draw up a new amendment involving many more issues than the much-discussed geographical names in minority textbooks if MPs don't overrule President Ivan Gašparovič's veto of the previous textbook bill, the TASR newswire wrote.

Gašparovič vetoed a bill that would have obliged publishers to print geographical names in two languages in school textbooks designed for ethnic minorities - in the minority language followed by the Slovak version in brackets or after a slash in cases when the names are deeply-rooted in the language of the ethnic minority.

"It's like the big bad wolf knocking on the little pig's door," SNS caucus leader Rafael Rafaj said of Caplovic's plan, adding that it would allow Hungarian place-names to appear in textbooks. Rafaj also said that the textbook issue should not be dealt with by a law but by an education ministry directive, as the topic has become "over-politicised" as reported by TASR.

"I care about maintaining two languages," Čaplovič told TASR earlier in January, adding that he has backed this principle throughout the whole controversy and thinks that place-names should be published in the state language first, followed by the equivalent in the minority language.

The ethnic-Hungarian SMK party originally proposed that only minority place-names should be published in Hungarian language textbooks, but parliament approved an amendment drawn up by its Chairman Pavol Paška (Smer-SD) authorizing dual place-names. Gašparovič vetoed the bill, however, returning it to parliament for further discussion.

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