Chiara Rick from Duisburg, North-Rhine Westphalia, asked to learn Turkish with some of her Turkish-speaking classmates but was told that there was a state decree preventing it, said regional paper the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ).
She had learned some English while in kindergarten and has a passion for languages – she told the paper she “wants to learn Turkish too,” after being introduced to it by classmates.
Her mother Sabine said it was “a really great thing” that her daughter wanted to learn a completely different language – that of her friends at school
The decree excluding German native-speakers from classes taught for pupils with a different mother tongue had, she said, nothing to do with integration. “What benefit for integration does it have when they stick among themselves?” she added.
No-one from the school was available for comment, but the school advisory board said it was keen to find a solution.
Head of the board Wolfgang Streuff told the paper that he had “never come across anything like this before.”
Strictly speaking, the decree means that a primary school child cannot take part in classes taught in a foreign language, Streuff said. He said children were sometimes allowed in foreign language lessons for a specific reason, for example if their family were planning to move abroad.
But he said there simply would not be enough teachers to offer Turkish language tuition to all pupils.
Rick said the rule was outdated, saying some families of Turkish origin were already third generation German. “One Turkish family which we know speaks German at home,” she said, questioning where schools should draw the line on who was a native speaker.