Ukraine introduces an exam on the knowledge of the state Ukrainian language for those who apply for positions in government or local authorities. We would like to tell you what kind of exam it is and whether there is something similar in other countries.
What is this exam and does everyone need to take it?
Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language Taras Kremin said that this provision of the law will come into force on July 16, 2021, so theoretically there is time to make up for the curriculum.
This rule applies to "those who will apply for positions in state or local government bodies," including the next MPs, ministers.
We are talking about the Law "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language", which the Verkhovna Rada adopted on April 25, 2019.
It says that the requirements for the level of proficiency in the state language are established by the National Commission on State Language Standards.
The Commission's Facebook page states that the level of Ukrainian language proficiency can be confirmed:
- with the help of a document on general secondary education (Article 10, Part 3)
- with the help of an exam, after passing which a corresponding certificate is provided (art. 10, part 2).
A Certificate Registry will also be created. Access to the information contained in the Register (last name, first name, patronymic of the owner of the state certificate, level of proficiency in the state language, serial number, and date of issue of the state certificate) is open online on the official website of the Commission. The site of the commission is not operating yet.
Information from the Registry will also be considered a language proficiency document.
How will the exam be conducted?
On the page of the National Commission on State Language Standards, they explained how the exam will be conducted for officials in general terms. The Commission should warn about other details of the process in advance since there is a year left before the system starts operating. And the project still has to be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The exam consists of oral and written parts. It could be passed in person (at the National Commission for State Language Standards or an institution authorized by it) or remotely.
The National Commission for State Language Standards forms and approves the requirements for the levels of proficiency in the state language, the examination methodology, requirements for the assessment of the exam, the bank of tasks for the exam, and also issues a certificate to those who successfully passed the exam.
The state language proficiency scale defines three general levels of skills: initial level "A", intermediate level "B", and fluent "C".
The Commission issues a certificate provided that, based on the results of passing the exam for the level of proficiency in the state language, the person has confirmed the proficiency of the state language at one of the levels.
Taking the exam for Ukrainian citizens is free. Another bonus is that such a certificate is unlimited.
The results of the exam are established no later than 15 calendar days from the date of the exam.
What if the official has not passed the test?
The Law states that one can take the exam for the state language proficiency an unlimited number of times, but not more often than once every four months.
There is another legal option, the candidate can appeal the decision to the Commission:
"The procedure for appealing the results of the exam and considering complaints is approved by the decision of the Commission," the Law says.
Further, if the Commission is implacable, the conclusion can also be appealed in court. Probably, if schoolchildren or students see this last point of the Law, they will be surprised that it was possible. Yes, you can.
A regular certificate is not enough?
Despite the explanations of the National Commission, the Law contains a division into categories of citizens who can simply show a certificate, and there are those who still have to get a certificate based on the exam results.
The list of officials who must take the exam is available in Art. 10 "Requirements for the level of proficiency in the state language":
- the President of Ukraine;
- the Prime Minister, First Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, other members of the Cabinet of Ministers, First Deputy, and Deputy Ministers;
- heads of other central executive bodies and their deputies;
- the head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine and his deputies;
- the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) and his deputies;
- the head of the Security Service of Ukraine and his deputies;
- the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine and his deputies;
- The Prosecutor General and his deputies, heads of regional and local prosecutor's offices, the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office and his deputies;
- members of the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine;
- to the chairman and other members of the Accounting Chamber;
- to the Chairman of the Antimonopoly Committee and other state representatives of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine, heads of its territorial offices;
- members of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC);
- members of the National Commission on State Language Standards;
- members of the Central Election Commission (CEC);
- members of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting;
- members of national commissions for the regulation of natural monopolies;
- members of the National Commission on Securities and Stock Market;
- members of the National Commission for state regulation of financial services markets, members of other state collegial bodies;
- Chairman of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine and his deputies;
- the head of the State Property Fund and his deputies;
- permanent representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Verkhovna Rada, the President of Ukraine in the Constitutional Court;
- Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU);
- The Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights and his representatives;
- To the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language;
- the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and his deputies, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and his deputies, the ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the permanent representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and his deputies.
Other paragraphs state that the exam must also be taken by civil servants, heads of local state administrations, their first deputies and deputies, persons in command (middle and higher) personnel of the National Police, other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, prosecutors, judges, members and disciplinary inspectors of the Higher the qualification commission of judges, members of the High Council of Justice, heads of educational institutions of all forms of ownership.
Who needs a high school diploma?
The level of proficiency in the state language can be confirmed either by an exam or a certificate (optional) in the following categories:
- MPs of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
- local councilors;
- local government officials;
- employees of the National Bank;
- officers performing military service under the contract;
- individuals of privates, sergeants, and foremen of the National Police, other law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and other bodies who are assigned special ranks;
- pedagogical, scientific-pedagogical, and scientific workers, except for foreigners, stateless persons, who are invited to educational institutions and/or scientific institutions and work on a temporary basis as scientific, pedagogical, scientific-pedagogical workers or teachers of a foreign language.
In 2018, Russia introduced tests for candidates for government positions. The test for different job levels are different and contain diverse tasks, including a test for proficiency in Russian. Also in this test, knowledge of the basics of the constitution and laws is tested. The test is considered passed if the candidate answered 70 percent or more of the questions asked correctly.
But let's take the example of an officially bilingual country – Canada, where the official languages are English and French.
On the website of the Government of Canada, the requirements depend on the position, there are bilingual ones, and for some, one language is enough. Moreover, for each position, the required level of reading, speaking, and writing is clearly indicated.
The government conducts tests for citizens depending on which language is their mother tongue and which is the second. The second language proficiency test consists of other separate tests: speaking, reading comprehension, the written expression of thoughts, as well as interviews on the results of the passed stages of the exam.