Evarist Bartolo brushes off opposition to changes in Language Council
Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo has brushed off the harsh opposition by the Maltese academics and those members of the Maltese Language Council regarding the proposed changes in the council’s formation.
In comments to The Malta Independent, the minister said that he still cannot understand what the concern of the council is. “Those sitting on the council now will not lose their place. The only thing that is going to change is the increased number of representatives, namely the National Book Council and the Broadcasting Authority. Aren’t these academic enough?”
But the Maltese Language Council has already explained that these representatives, although they might be interested in the language, are not experts like the academics who have worked in the language for years. Still, Minister Bartolo believes that these are needed in the council to ensure that Maltese language is preserved.
Asked by this newspaper to explain who came up with these proposed changes in the council, the minister said that it was the sentiment expressed in the national forum organised last year which was very well attended. He said that this forum had not met in years and many expressed their concern at how the Broadcasting Authority needs to sharpen its Maltese.
Mr Bartolo also said that he had set up a consultative committee before drafting the changes. However, according to Dr Olvin Vella who spoke to this newspaper, the committee never suggested that the Council be increased from 11 members to 13. The minister insisted that this committee was made up of very serious and competent people.
On the introduction of entities such as the National Book Council, the minister commented that he is certain that the NBC representative will listen to the academics.
“I want the council to work together and I thank them for their precious work carried out in the past. But I believe that if we widen the council, work can be done better. Publishers have a vital role. I have said in the past and I will say it again, the future of the Maltese language depends on publishers.
“If the academics are concerned that they will be in a minority and will not be able to persuade the few new members, how will they manage to persuade the public?” he added.
Asked to comment on Dr Vella’s comment, that the minister wants to accommodate language Taliban who are detached from reality, Mr Bartolo said that Dr Vella should specify who these people are.