Only 3.9% of Poles indicate the insufficient knowledge of Lithuanian language as the reason for their unemployment. The Institute of Labour and Social Research in Vilnius confirmed presumptions of the European Foundation of Human Rights that the research results quoted by Lithuanian authorities do not correspond with the truth. On 24th March the Foundation submitted to the Institute of Labour and Social Research a request for explaining the imprecisions connected with the research conducted by the Institute in year 2008 and concerning the situation of men and women belonging to ethnic minority groups on labour market. The research results served as a main argument for passing the new act on education which exacerbates the situation of national minorities in Lithuania.
The Foundation noticed that in its report from year 2010 the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights refers to the research results conducted by the Institute. From the Agency’s report it follows that “in Lithuania 42% of the questioned minority representatives indicated the insufficient knowledge of Lithuanian language as the source of problems they came across on the labour market”. However, after a thorough analysis of the Institute’s research results, the Foundation came to the conclusion, that what follows from the results is that national minorities do not have problems with the Lithuanian language.
The Institute explicitly confirmed that the interpretation of research results given by the Agency as well as politicians is not true. The Institute emphasized that it cannot be ascertained that the representatives of national minorities complained about the insufficient knowledge of the language.
The quoted number 42% reflected only the opinion of respondents, not their own direct experiences of crucial problems encountered by the representatives of national minorities when applying for a job or trying to improve their own situation on the labour market. This answer reflects only the concerns of respondents and existing myths rather than real situation.
In the next question, concerning the evaluation of direct causes for unemployment, only 6.7% of the questioned men indicated the insufficient knowledge of the Lithuanian language as its cause. The Institute indicated that only 3.9% of Poles consider the insufficient knowledge of the Lithuanian language to be the cause of their unemployment. As the main cause of unemployment subjects indicated, among others, low remuneration (33.7%).
What is more, the Institute emphasized, that results of a sociological research cannot be interpreted off the general context of the research, the complexity of the given questions and the its aim. The aim of the given research was the evaluation of minority groups’ situation on labour market, which is why the respondents were mainly people of older age (able to work). The Institute shares the Foundation’s opinion that the older respondents graduated from school before Lithuania regained its independence, which is the reason for their poorer knowledge of the language.
The Foundation shall notify about its further steps.