SLOVAK language teaching is supported by the Education Ministry at 25 universities abroad. Lecturers in Slovak language and culture work primarily in countries which have larger Slovak communities, for instance at universities in Budapest, Szeged, Warsaw, Krakow, Katowice, Bucharest, Belgrade, Novi Sad and Uzhgorod, according to the Report on State Policy on Slovaks Living Abroad, approved by the government on August 26, 2009.
A Slovak language course for beginners is now available year-round through the www.e-slovak.sk portal operated by Studia Academica Slovaca, the Centre of Slovak as a Foreign Language. E-Slovak is an e-learning course for Slovak as a foreign language aimed at teaching basic language skills which can be applied in day-to-day situations. Studia Academica Slovaca (SAS), The Centre of Slovak as a Foreign Language is a research and study centre of the Faculty of Arts at Comenius University in Bratislava.
“We are trying to be innovative and to make our programme available also to those who cannot come to Slovakia and do not have the opportunity to learn Slovak in the place where they live,” Jana Pekarovičová, the director of SAS, told The Slovak Spectator. E-Slovak is supported by the Education Ministry and it is available free of charge to everyone with access to the internet. At the moment there are programmes at level A, for beginners, but experts from SAS are currently working on adding intermediate and advanced programmes, which should arrive soon. According to Pekarovičová, new participants are registering for the programme every day. By the end of last year there were more than 400 of them.
The course is aimed primarily at foreign students of Slovak and Slavonic languages, Slovaks living abroad or ex-pats, applicants for study programmes in Slovakia as part of development aid offered by the Slovak Republic, participants in the Studia Academica Slovaca Summer School of Slovak Language and Culture, and at all people interested in studying Slovak language and culture.
According to Pekarovičová, each year about 150 participants meet in Bratislava to take part in the summer school. The SAS Summer School is the oldest summer language school in Slovakia. This year’s school, the 45th, welcomed a record 162 participants from 30 countries around the world.
“The jubilee 45th edition was very colourful, in terms of the ethnic composition as well as the age range of the participants,” Pekarovičová said. According to her, a majority of the participants are typically university students who are studying Slovak language and culture in their home countries.
“These students come because they study the Slovak language as a subject or as a specialisation, and they need to obtain a better knowledge not only of the language but also of the country, its history and culture,” she told The Slovak Spectator. However, the SAS Summer School is also attractive for diplomats, foreign managers or lecturers of foreign languages working in Slovakia, as well as for the children of immigrants of Slovak origin and those who have a Slovak partner.
More information on the activities of SAS can be found at www.fphil.uniba.sk/sas.
21. Sep 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff