Ukraine is Transitioning to the English Language
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has submitted a draft Law on the Use of the English Language in Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada and designated it as urgent. The draft law No. 9432 dated June 28 specifically addresses granting official status to the English language as a language of international communication, defining positions that require mandatory proficiency in English, and regulating its use in the work of state authorities.
"The transformation of the status of the English language in Ukraine is a necessity and a strategic step towards full membership of our country in the EU, as knowledge of the English language is a key competence in the conditions of globalization," said Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to him, Ukraine has the status of a candidate for the EU, but it still remains isolated from the EU due to the language barrier.
If this bill is adopted, the following individuals will be required to have proficiency in the English language:
- Category A civil servants;
Category B and C civil servants from the list created by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;
Heads of local state administrations and their deputies;
Contract officers of the armed forces;
National Police officers;
Heads of state-owned enterprises.
The draft law also stipulates that everyone receiving a full general secondary education must study the state and English languages in educational institutions. Every student must pass a state final examination in the English language.
According to the draft law, preschool educational institutions are required to provide mandatory English language learning for children of pre-school age. They also ensure the mandatory use of the English language in the educational process for children of early, junior, and middle preschool age.
The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine has been developing the draft law since August 2022. An interdepartmental working group was created for its preparation. The aim of the law is to implement Ukraine's strategic course towards EU accession, regulate the use of the English language in various spheres of social life, and enhance citizens' proficiency in it.
It should be noted that in 2015, President Petro Poroshenko declared the Year of English Language in Ukraine. In 2012, on the eve of Euro 2012 in Kyiv and other cities hosting football matches of the championship, the names of public transport stops and metro stations were duplicated in the English language.