Miris document ID: 1044437675707
Author: Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia
Language: English
Source: Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia
Country: Slovenia
Category: judgment/decision
Government level: National - State Level
Guiding principle: In Art. 64, the Constitution provides that bilingual schooling is compulsory and authorizes the legislature to determine the areas in which it is compulsory. It imposes on the legislature the duty to organize such schooling, and it only leaves it the discretion to determine the areas in which it is compulsory. The basic starting-point in determining the areas in which bilingual schooling is compulsory is that it relates to the special rights of the indigenous Italian and Hungarian national community. Art. 14, Para. 2 of the Constitution provides that every person is equal before the law. This of course does not mean that a legal regulation should not differently determine the position of legal subjects, but that it must not do this arbitrarily, without a sound and well founded reason. This means that differentiation must serve a constitutionally permissible goal, that this goal must rationally be related to the matter of determination in the legal regulation, and that the established differentiation must be a proper means for achieving this goal. Thus, for differentiation to be permitted, a well founded reason, deriving from the nature of the matter, must exist. Bilingual schooling, as the special right of an indigenous national community to equality before the law, does not by itself encroach on the right of the members of the majority population. The Constitution does not prevent the legislature from determining within the limits of its discretion, criteria according to which it may differentiate between certain similar states of facts and apply them with different legal consequences. Such discretion, by which the legislature pursues constitutionally permissible goals, is a crucial component of legislative power.Besides the thus determined limits of the legislature's discretion, consideration must be given to the fact that the establishment of bilingual schools is imposed on the State by the Constitution. The selection of the areas in which such schools will be established, and the areas in which the special rights of an indigenous minority concerning the field of education will be guaranteed by establishing minority schools, is left to the legislature. Historical circumstances have dictated the organization of bilingual schools in the areas where the Hungarian national community lives, and not also in the areas populated by the Italian national community. The preservation of the organization or network of bilingual schools also entails respecting the obligations that Slovenia contracted by ratified international agreements, and is not inconsistent with the Constitution (i.e. with Art. 14 of the Constitution).The Constitution in Art. 57, Para. 3 imposes on the State the duty to provide opportunities for all citizens to obtain a proper education. This entails the duty of ensuring equal opportunities for pupils to obtain such a level of compulsory primary education that will enable them, according to their wishes and abilities, to continue with a proper education after they finish primary school. The petitioners in no manner showed that the pupils of bilingual schools had been, concerning the quality of knowledge obtained (considering school grades and their results on the final examination), in a different position, or even discriminated against, in comparison with other pupils (of "regular" or minority schools). According to these circumstances, the differences between pupils do not necessarily, or not at all, depend on the fact that the individual attends a bilingual school. A bilingual school, in so far as the compulsory learning of a minority language is required, also does not entail an encroachment on the right of Slovenian children to use their language and script.
Date of judgement: 1998-10-22
Document number: U-I-94/96
Official version: yes
Published on: Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia
Edition number: 77/1998
Legally binding: yes
Subject areas: prohibition of assimilation; education
Minority groups: Hungarians
Related laws: Act on the Organization and Financing of Upbringing and Education

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