Indigenous children’s right to learn their mother tongue at school: Sámi in Russia

Theme 4. Education
Session Name 4.5 Formal and informal education in Arctic studies and science outreach in the Arctic
Datetime Sep 05, 2018 02:30 PM - 02:45 PM (UTC +3)
Location IT135
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Ekaterina Zmyvalova
Author(s) Ekaterina Zmyvalova (Umeå University, Sweden)
Abstract text

In my research I examine how the provisions of international and national law concerning the right in focus are reflected upon and realized in primary education that targets Sámi learners in Sweden and in Russia.


The Sámi people are one of the groups of indigenous peoples living in the territories of four states: Sweden, Norway, Russia and Finland. In this presentation I will talk about the established school practice of the Sámi language teaching in the Russian context. The Lovozero school located in the Murmansk oblast is the only school in the Russian Arctic where the Sámi language is taught. Teaching is carried out in the form of non-obligatory educational activity but in the form of school format. Earlier the Sámi language was taught as a language subject but lately the subject has acquired a multidisciplinary character and is called “The language and its history, culture and folklore of the Sámi people”.


Teaching of the subject has been impacted by different factors, among them the need for new educational strategies. The current situation can unlikely result in the achievement of the learning outcomes expected from the subject “The language and its history, culture and folklore of the Sámi people”. The implementation of the children’s right to learn their mother tongue at school in Lovozero village seems to be problematic.

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