Teaching Lithuanian as Support for Belarusian Citizens
After an intensive Lithuanian language course at the Winter Academy of Lithuanian Language and Culture of Klaipėda University, three dozen Belarusian citizens will enjoy better opportunities to get established in Lithuania, i.e. to find a job that meets their qualifications, to solve social problems, and to faster integrate into the society of our country. The reduction of the course fee to a symbolic amount is the support of the Klaipėda University community for the people of the neighbouring country.
The invitation of Klaipėda University to Belarusian citizens living in Lithuania to learn the Lithuanian language for a symbolic fee was widely heard in the public space of Belarus. The call for Belarusians to apply as participants for 5 places in an intensive Lithuanian language course was distributed on December 23 in the online press and social networks of the Belarusian democratic forces. In five days, the organisers of the Academy received over thirty applications from Belarusian citizens who had recently settled in Lithuania and wanted to learn the Lithuanian language. In their motivation letters, the applicants told about the different circumstances of having come to Lithuania: some had to emigrate due to anti-democratic actions of the Belarusian government, others for economic reasons, and some were brought by love.
The organisers of the Lithuanian Language and Culture Academy at KU decided to satisfy all the received applications of Belarusian citizens and thus contribute to more successful integration of the people of the neighbouring state into Lithuania. For the 82-hour course, all the participants are to pay merely a symbolic fee, while one student from Belarus, already a student of Klaipėda University, will study Lithuanian free of charge.
“We feel a moral obligation to help Belarusian citizens who have experienced undemocratic government actions to get established in Lithuania. The number of applications suggests a great demand for the Lithuanian language courses. Provided the state institutions contributed financially, we could organise special courses of Lithuanian for Belarusians who have found asylum in Lithuania. We have both technical and intellectual potential and extensive experience for that”, says KU Rector prof. dr. Artūras Razbadauskas.
100 learners will study at the KU Lithuanian Academy of Language and Culture starting today. The largest share of atendants – as many as 31 – are Belarusian citizens. The work of the Lithuanian Academy of Language and Culture has been organized remotely since the summer of 2020.