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Minority Education in Schleswig-Holstein - Legal Provisions and Potential for Transferability of a Model Case

Sonja Wolf

This paper aims at the analysis of the Schleswig-Holstein minority school system and an evaluation of its potential transferability. The border region between Germany and Denmark is often seen as a model region for minority integration and diversity management, one of the main pillars of which is represented by their respective school systems. On the German side education is arranged in the Schleswig-Holstein state school law, which guarantees not only the possibility to found minority schools but also their funding on equal footing with German public schools. These legal provisions are unique in European minority relations and are the base for a non-discriminatory minority education, which in turn is regarded to influence the stability of minority-majority relations in the region. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate if, and if yes how, the Schleswig-Holstein minority school system can be used as a model for other minority groups in Europe. I will give a broad overview of the legal provisions in international and German federal law concerning minority education and conduct a qualitative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Schleswig-Holstein's school law concerning the Danish minority schools. I will conclude the analysis with an examination of the potential for a transfer of the Danish minority school system in Schleswig-Holstein into other regions with minority populations in Europe. In my analysis I will draw on the relevant legislative texts and respective analytic comments as well as academic research on the specificities of the German-Danish border region and its minority education provisions.

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