|Witnesses to Cultural Genocide|
In bourgeois societies minority oppression always results in more or less open struggle. Minorities have the possibility of self-defense - even if narrowly defined. They are assisted not only by political and social organizations but their independent network of schools also plays a sigificant role. It assures the reproduction of the elite, and the preservation and develop ment of the minority culture. In the People's Democracies, on the other hand, individuals are generally defenseless against the state, and thus their nationality is also at the mercy of the authorities. Besides, even the school system is completely state-owned and therefore serves the oppression, not the defense. This becomes obvious if we examine the situation of the more important types of schools.
In this regard it is necessary to take into consideration that education is now much more general as an instrument of acculturation than it was in bourgeois societies. High school level education became general: in Rumania, ten years of schooling is compulsory, and only two more years are needed before "maturity", that is, high school graduation. As a consequence the role of the universities in the formation of the intellectual stratum has grown, another fact that has to be taken into consideration. Moreover, students, especially those from the minorities, may never study abroad at all. This, too, signifies a departure from the possibilities in a bourgeois society. The only opportunity therefore is to be found in local university instruction. Finally, not only the actual numerical proportions will have to be considered, but also the direction of change, and also the direction in which the young intellectuals are guided by the school system and the university.
In all of Rumania, Hungarian-language instruction at the university level exists in three places, in Kolozsvar at two departments of Kolozsvar university, in Szeben and in Marosvasarhely at the medical school. There is also an arts college in Kolozsvar for music and fine arts, and in Marosvasarhely for the dramatic arts. A 1971 Party directive lists the departments and courses which may have Hungarian-language instruction: 11 departments and 18 subjects. Besides philosophical subjects, these are history, economics, psychology, three subjects in mathematics, as well as chemistry, elementary physics, botany, zoology, geography, and geology. Nowhere else is there any Hungarian-language instruction in any school. This means, however, that instruction in the mother-tongue is restricted to medical students and to those preparing for teaching careers. At the Kolozsvar University the situation is as follows: at the start of the 1976-1977 year, out of approximately 6,000 students, 1206 were freshmen, and of these, 269 Hungarian. Yet these Hungarians do not all attend Hungarian lectures. Eight percent of all the students go to Hungarian lectures, therefore a majority of the Hungarians attend exclusively Rumanian language courses. The composition of the teaching staff is as follows: of approximately 900 professors, the number of Hungarians is about 210, but a significant number of these lectures exclusively in Rumanian.
With regard to the language of instruction, in the philosophy department it is possible to take one-third of the classes in Hungarian. Taking a science department as a second example: in general chemistry, out of 36 subjects, six are given in Hungarian - five ideological subjects, and organic chemistry. (Outside the humanities the situation is the same everywhere: most of the major subjects are offered only in Rumanian, even if they do have some Hungarian-language instruction in minor subjects.) In 1974, out of 65 students in general chemistry, eight attended Hungarian-language lectures.
The chemistry department provides a good example from the point of view of its history as well. At the time of the merger, general chemistry instruction at the Hungarian Bolyai University was of course in the Hungarian language. At the Rumanian Babes University, besides general chemistry, physical chemistry was also taught. After the merger, till 1962, general chemistry was given in both languages. At that time, however, they abolished the general chemistry department and besides physical chemistry, they introduced analytical chemistry, only in Rumanian. In 1964 they restored general chemistry. Then they introduced some Hungarian-language courses in physical chemistry, too. But in the 70's this also came to an end, in order for the chemistry of building materials to take its place. Although there are Hungarian students in it, there is no Hungarian-language instruction. We see again the method of creating insecurity, in order to break the resistance and to make possible the elimination of Hungarian instruction. A condition ot which is of course that the Hungarian students shouid not request Hungarian-language classes. To achieve that various forms of intimidation, had also to be employed.
Something else has to be mentioned at the department of general chemistry. According to the customary system, four years of instruction, are followed by a fifth year that prepares one for scientific research work. Only a fraction of those completing the fourth year are accepted into this, while the majority receive a teacher's diploma. Well, in 1976, there were altogether 84 Rumanian and 38 Hungarian students in the first four years of general chemistry. In the fifth year, on the other hand, there was not a single Hungarian. Which again only goes to show that it is a characteristic feature of the university system that it limits Hungarian students to teaching careers, and thus does not permit them to rise above this middle level of the intelligentsia .
With respect to the influences at work during the course of university instruction, it may be stated that the aim is to wean the students away from the Hungarian cultural universe and increasingly bring them into the Rumanian one. This, too, is a step on the road of Rumanianization, and would serve to erode the minority intelligentsia.
At the university a frequently used indicator is calculated by multiplying the number of courses by the students attending them. If we take the indicator of total Hungarian instruction presently going on at the university and compare it with the indicator before the forced merger at Bolyai University, it then appears that present Hungarian-language university instruction comprises approximately 5-10 percent of that 20 years ago. Hungarian-language university instruction, has shrunk this much at Kolozsvár.
The placement of university and college graduates plays an im- portant role supplementing university policy. Graduates are placed by the government, in a compulsory way. Hungarians - especially those who showed their identification with their nation by attending Hungarian language courses - inevitably wind up at a greater disadvantage. A good part of the Hungarian graduates are placed in Rumanian regions, and even if they get to Hungarian regions, they are usually appointed as teachers in elementary schools, rarely in secondary schools.
As an example, teachers of mathematics, chemistry and physics who completed their studies at the Marosvasarhely Teachers College in 1971-72, and also pharmacists from the medical school were placed in trans-Carpathian Rumania, and not in Transylvania. As a result of this practice, the number of Hungarian doctors in the villages of Moldavia is quite large; according to some data, 50 percent of the doctors in the villages of 2 counties are Hungarian. In Hungarian regions of Transylvania, on the other hand, the percentage of Rumanian doctors is large. This two-way character of placement policy also clearly demonstrates the objective of the entire policy.
University instruction beside determining the directions of future careers, also provides guidance for pre-university studies. The fact, that technical subjects are given only in Rumanian and the conditions of university admission (where only a fraction of the applicants are accepted) give much better chances to graduates of Rumanian secondary schools, than to those graduating from Hungariarl schools. The university therefore also serves as a deterrent: deterring the Hungarians from Hungarian-language high school instruction, and encouraging them to transfer to Rumanian schools.
To examine the situation of the secondary schools, it is worth- while briefly reviewing the history of a few schools, using as examples a few corresponding to the average and drawn from different regions.
Banffyhunyad is the center of the Hungarian-inhabited Kalotaszeg region in the vicinity of Kolozsvar. Here a Hungarian elementary school operated before the war, and between 1940-44 a Hungarian high school and an agricultural trade school. After the 1948 school reform there was a seven-year elementary school in the town, with Rumanian and Hungarian sections. Over the following years they expanded the Rumanian section to 11 grades, while the Hungarian remained at seven grades until 1955. At that time (the date is not accidental) both sections were turned into a combined elementary and high school including 12 school grades. A new reorganization in 1976 again separated the two types of schools, but it created one more freshman class in Rumanian and one less in Hungarian than the actual enrollment called for. Correction was out of question, they raised the number of students from 36 to 40 in the Hungarian classes, and they filled the newly created places with the children of the most determined parents, and put strong pressure on the others to enroll their children in the Rumanian classes.
Szovata is a small town in the Szekler land. A general high school here had - until 1970 - Hungarian language instruction in two classes at every level. Between 1970 and 1974, the number of students in one of the first year classes fell under 36. This class therefore was turned into a Rumanian-language one. There were 20 students in this class: two out-of-town Rumanians and the 18 Szovata Hungarian students who originally registered in the Hungarian class. This way a Rumanian-language section was forced upon the Szovata high school, and Hungarian teachers who became "superfluous" were transferred to Rumanian areas to replace those Rumanian teachers who were brought to Szovata.
Mention must be made here of the law which requires at least 36 applicants for the setting up of a Hungarian high school class. However, this same law prescribed the establishment of Rumanian classes wherever possible. These Rumanian classes may start with a number of students less than the above minimum.
The next example is a West-Transylvanian city with about 10,000 inhabitants and possessing old educational traditions.
In 1946 the city was 90% Hungarian. During the 50's the population doubled (partly through settling of Rumanians from far-away regions), and the division became 50-50%. Between 1945 and 1948 the schools operated according to the old set-up. There was a public elementary school, with one Rumanian and one Hungarian class per grade, and three religious schools (with three Hungarian classes in every grade). A high school operated in the Hungarian language. After the 1948 reform there was a Rumanian and a Hungarian elementary school, each with three classes at every level, and a general high school with two Rumanian and one Hungarian class, per grade. This high school was divided into two technical high schools in the 50's. One Rumanian with two classes and one Hungarian with one class per grade. The Hungarian one was abolished however by the end of the 50,s. During the next 20 years the Rumanian technical high school grew constantly until it incorporated ten parallel classes at every grade level, and its diploma became equivalent to the "maturity" exam. At about the same time they established two more technical high schools in other vocations, both with Rumanian instruction, each with eight parallel classes at every level. Thus in 1976 there were altogether 26 parallel Rumanian technical high school classes at every grade level. The general high school was re-established four years after its dissolution, with Rumanian and Hungarian sections, each with two parallel classes. Later the number of Rumanian classes was doubled, while that of the Hungarian classes was unchanged. Thereafter the entire school was reduced by half: two Rumanian classes and one Hungarian. In 1976 the situation was as follows: on the elementary school level there were six Rumanian and two Hungarian classes per grade level. In the high school there were two Rumanian and one Hungarian class and in the technical high schools 26 Rumanian classes and no Hungarian. For the sake of completeness, let us take into account the area around the town, too. This consists of eight villages, some of purely Hungarian, some of mixed population. The classes in the elementary schools of these villages compared to the actual needs are set up as follows: in three villges there are schools with two Rumanian and two Hungarian classes per grade although in each one, one Rumanian and three Hungarlan classes would correspond to the need. In three villages there is one Hungarian and one Rumanian class at every level although in two of these only one Hungarian class would be necessary, and in one, two Hungarian classes. Not a single one of these villages has any Rumanian population. In one village there is only a Rumanian class per grade, but according to the population, a Hungarian would be needed. Finally, in one village there is one Hungarian class which corresponds to the need. This data throws light not only on the elementary school situation, but, considering the ethnic distribution of the town, also the fact that the inflated number of Rumanian-language schools are filled with Rumanians drawn partly from the more distant parts of the county, partly from regions even further away, as well as with local Hungarian students.
A more general statistic from outside of Transylvania: in the Moldavian Csango region, 72 Hungarian schools operated before 1958; today not a single one is left.
Examining the situation according to regions, we will take Kolozs County first, with the most significant Hungarian city, Kolozsvar. In 1966, 164,000 Hungarians lived in the county, i.e., 26.1 percent of the population. At the end of World War II there were 11 Hungarian high schools in Kolozsvar. There were three more high schools outside the city, or 14 altogether in the county. Later we will examine the situation of the technical high schools, but we leave them aside for the present comparison. In the city of Kolozsvar, at the start of the 1973 school year, there were nine general high schools (or rather, sections of high schools) teaching in the Hungarian language. There were five more in the county, making 14 altogether. At the start of the 1976 school year, the picture was as follows: seven sets of classes in the city, and four in the county, making 11 altogether. Comparing the present situation with the one after the war the deterioration shows up clearly. This is even more significant if we consider that in the meantime the school system was transformed, and instead of: elite-training, acquired a more general role. The change can be seen clearly from the development of: the Rumanian-language high schools. In 1973 at the start of the academic year, there were 32 Rumanian-language high schools in Kolozsvar, and 29 in the county, 66 altogether. By l976, this number grew to 74. Regression in Hungarian-language instruction therefore was matched by continuous and rapid increase in the Rumanian sections. While Hungarian instruction was below the level provided by bourgeois society, the Rumanian was several times higher than in bourgeois Rumania. Students studying in the Hungarian language constituted approximately 12-13 percent of the total number, which is less than half of what could be expected on the basis of the ethnic constitution of the county.
The school system of Marosvasarhely shows a picture that is similar in many ways. In 1947, there were 6 high schools in the city, and 2 in surrounding Maros County. The present proportions are as follows: in Marosvasarhely there are 12 Rumanian classes at every level, and eight Hungarian classes. If we take whole schools into account, including elementary schools, there are eight Hungarian-language ones against 36 Rumanian language ones. Of the three high schools in which parallel Rumanian and Hungarian classes exist, one has a Hungarian principal, and two Rumanian principals. The direction of development is well demonstrated by the fact that, while the number of Hungarian professors and teachers has declined in the last ten years, that of the Rumanians has increased from 110 to over 1000. There are two colleges in the city: The School of Dramatic Arts which operated only in Hungarian until 1976, when a Rumanian-language section was added; and the College of Pharmacology. This latter was Hungarian in the beginning, later it became bi-lingual; Hungarian instruction ceased at the beginning of the 60's, until 1968, when parallel Rumanian- and Hungarian-language instruction started again.
For a survey of the situation of the technical high schools, it is necessary to know that these comprise two steps of education. The first two years count as the first level and this is still included in the ten-year compulsory education, elementary schools being of the eight year variety. Those completing these two years of the technical high schools obtain a skilled-worker certificate. The second ievel (third and fourth year) gives "maturity" . equivalent to that given by the general high sehools, and qualifies one to apply for university admission. Ordinarily however these graduates find a position in the upper strata of the working classt as "highly qualified" skilled workers. In order to become a master-craftsman or shop-foreman, further study and examinations are necessary. Thus it is safe to say that the technical high schools serve to develop and reproduce the higher, more skilled and more educated strata of the working class. Since 1966 this type of school was developed in Rumania to the greatest extent.
The situation of the technical high schools in Kolozs County and in Kolozsvar is as follows: at the start of the 1973-74 academic year, 174 freshman classes began in technical high schools. Two were in the Hungarian language (one was a textile and garment industry class, the second construction-industry). Those in the Rumanian language were devoted to such subjects as education, health care, agriculture, two machine-industry schools (with 29 parallel classes), four chemical-industry schools (with 26 classes), telecommunications, etc. The charac- ter of the differentiation may be stated clearly: there is Hungarian instruction only in professions that are technically simpler, less advanced, in the more "elite" professions only Rumanian instruction exists. At the start of the academic year in 1976, the situation was as follows: Rumanian-language technical instruction in the county comprised 159 industrial, 13 agricultural, and 20 educational classes in the technical high schools that is, 192 classes at every level. Nine classes began in the Hungarian language: one agricultural and eight industrial. Their technical development was better at that time, because in addition to those existing previously, there were also mechanics, electrotechnics, and metallurgy. It is worthwhile comparing the ratio of: technical and general high schools: the proportion of Rumanian-language classes was 192:72 in favor of the technical high schools while the Hungarian was 9:11 in favor of the general high schools. If we now look at the tech- nical schools operating in the whole country, it then appears that the textile and construction industries predominate in Hungarian-language instruction; therefore the situation that existed in Kolozsvar in 1973 is valid for the whole country 1976
The picture is very instructive when we examine the system of Hungarian instruction of various counties in its entirety. Especially if we compare the percentage of Hungarians living in the county with proportion of Hungarian students receiving Hungarian-language instruction. In Kolozs County, in all secondary level instruction - with 26.1 percent of the population being Hungarian - only 7.2 percent of the students, and in Kovaszna County, whose population is 74.4 percent Hungarian, only 68.6 percent of the students are studying in Hungarian. In Maros County, 44.5 percent of the population is Hungarian, but those studying in Hungarian comprise only 26.6 percent. On the basis of the above proportions one has to conclude that in Hargita County, the center of the Szekler land five percent of the Hungarian students, in Kovaszna County approximately ten percent, in Maros County more than 40 per cent, must go to Rumanian schools. In Kolozs County only 1/4 of the Hungarian students go to Hungarian schools, in Bihar County only 2/3. To help to establish a sense of proportion one has to take into account that 15.5 percent of the Hungarians of the country live in Hargita County, 8.7 percent in Kovaszna County, in Maros County 15.2 percent, in Kolozs 10.9 percent, and in Bihar 12 percent. All this data is not only reliable and precise (most gathered from official sources) but lends support to comparison with official claims about the education of minority children, and puts the latter in the proper perspective .
According to reliable statistics, in 1969-70 225,618 Hungarian students attended Hungarian-language schools in the entire country. Of these, 168,218 went to elementary school, 21,568 to general high schools, 625 to teacher-training high schools, 1425 to technical high schools and 6,308 to trade sehools. (The total attending elementary schools and general high schools was, therefore, 189, 786. ) In the 1970-71 academic year the number of elementary school students sank to 157,000 and that of general high school students to 21,106 (about 179,000 altogether). Let us look at the number ot schools at the start of the 1976-77 year (after the supposed improvement brought about by American-Hungarian pressure). The distribution of Hungarian high school classes in the entire country is as follows: 59 general, 48 industrial, 11 agricultural, one economic, two educational, four physical education, and three arts classes, 128 altogether.
Let us now compare this with the 1947 situation. At that time, the number of Hungarian secondary schools in Rumania was 186, of which there were 147 general highschools, 17 teacher-training, 14 commercial, and eight industrial high schools. The direction of "development" is, therefore, clear. But let us compare this with corresponding data on Rumanian-language instruction. In the years 1948-49, there were 217 general high schools in the country. In 1968-69, however, there were 568, to which must be added 53 arts and 415 trade schools, as well as 191 technical high schools, which means 1,226 schools altogether.
According to official statistics, 74.7 percent of Hungarian students attend Hungarian schools, and 20.3 percent Rumanian ones. In light of the county data however, this must be viewed as a distorted figure, and the real situation is that the proportion of those who have to attend Rumanian schools may be somewhere between 30 and 50 percent. It is also worth mentioning one more piece of data. According to this, 24 percent of Hungarian students who have completed eight grades of elementary school study further, while the national average is only 19 percent. This data is utilized for propaganda concerning Hungarian-language instruction. Yet this piece of data conceals the fact that no small percentage of Hungarian students has to attend Rumanian schools, due to the slow strangulation of the Hungarian school system.
In speaking about the schools, it is also important to examine the situation existing within the Hungarian schools. This, however would require a separate study, and here we can make onlv a few observations.
First of all: part of the subjects in schools giving Hungarian instruction are taught in Rumanian. Generally, the Rumanian language is compulsory from the beginning. It may be said that this is reasonable, but it would really be that only if it were practiced on a basis of mutuality, that is by also teaching the minority languages in Rumanian schools, at least in the minority regions. There is no such thing, however. It is, however, worth noting that at the time of Hungarian possession of North Transylvania during the war, the study of the Rumanian language was compulsory in Hungarian high schools.
Secondly, so-called Pioneer activities must be carried out jointly wherever there are parallel Rumanian and Hungarian classes. And in these everything, including self-education, must be done in Rumanian. It is necessary to know that in practice all elementary school students are Pioneers.
Besides these direct means of Rumanianization, the curriculum itself also serves in many respects as a means of intellectual transformation, both by means of its content and absences. Hungarian students cannot study either the past or their people, or the real history of Transylvnia. They receive a distorted picture only, one that corresponds to the spirit of Rumanian nationalism. This is implanted in them through the most diverse subjects. In this way they are severed from their own natural historical and cultural roots. It is worth mentioning a characteristic example, which occurred in Szarazajta in Kovaszna County. Here there charged a school with sabotaging patriotic education, when a student, in response to the question, what came to his mind about the fall of 1944, did not answer that "our country was liberated then", but that members of the bourgeois Rumanian irregular troops (Maniu Guards) who retook the area after the Soviet Army, beheaded his grandfather at that time on the central square of the village.
|Witnesses to Cultural Genocide|