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Kalmyk is spoken in the republic of Kalmykia, by Kalmyks living in the neighbouring regions of Astrakhan, Volgograd, and Rostov, all part of the Russian Federation, by small groups in Diasporas in France, Germany, and the USA, and by the Oyrats living in China (The Oyrats themselves refer to their language as Oyrat). 2)
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|The federation of Kalmykia|
|GeoJSON track: kalmyk in kalmykia.geo|
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Kalmyks used only the Kalmyk language. After the October Revolution Kalmyk-Medium schools were opened. The Kalmyks gained access to education and quickly became bilingual (Kalmyk and Russian). Deportation to Siberia in 1943 under Stalin reduced the Kalmyk population by one fifth or half (depending on the source), and among the deported, (who came from all over Russia), Russian was the language of communication. The Kalmyks were allowed to return in 1957, but the deportation had caused a significant loss in the Kalmyk language use3). In the 1960's and 70's drastic cuts were made to native-language-education, and native-language use was discouraged. The last national Kalmyk-medium school was closed in 1963. In the 1980's, with the beginning of the Perestroika, things started to look better again, and in 1991 the law On Languages in the Kalmyk Soviet Socialist Republic (No. 137-IX) was adopted, which states that both Russian and Kalmyk are languages of the state in Kalmykia.4)
The Constitution of Russia states that “everyone shall have the right to education”. This is further detailed in the Federal Law on Education. In Russia one has the right to receive education in the native language and the government is required to provide the opportunities for minorities in Russia to learn their language(s). 5) However, several changes from 2007 on have restricted the education of minority languages.
The act On the Languages of Peoples of the Republic of Kalmykia (No. 137-IX) (1999) states that:
The Concept of the National System of Education was adopted in 1993, which states that:
|Data from 20017)||# of children||# of children learning Kalmyk|
|In pre-school education||9,368||8,764 (93,6%)|
|In school||55113||39705 (72,0%)|
|In vocational education||7007||5220 (74,5%)|
In 2006, nearly all children of Kalmyk nationality aged from 3 to 18 were taught Kalmyk.8)
Since 2001 9th- and 11th-form students of Kalmyk nationality must take an exam in Kalmyk language and literature. 67.8% of the 9th-graders and 82.3% of the 11th-graders received “Excellent” of “Good” marks.9)
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