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Lone Student Opts For Belarusian Teacher In Eastern City

Yalinka Salauyova, the only Belarusian-language student in Mahileu
MAHILEU, Belarus -- Only one of the first-grade students who started school on September 1 in the city of Mahileu in eastern Belarus opted for a class in which teaching is conducted in Belarusian, not Russian, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Yalinka Salauyova is the only student in her class. All other children at the school are taught in Russian.

That school is the only one in Mahileu, a city of more than 350,000 close to the Russian border, to offer teaching in Belarusian.

Yalinka's father, Zmitser Salauyou, told RFE/RL on August 31 that his daughter would have a single teacher. School officials have promised that a back-up teacher will be available in the event that teacher falls ill.

Salauyou also said that his daughter previously attended the only Belarusian group in Mahileu's kindergarten No. 81. There were only four children in the group, which was created in response to parental demand.

Both Belarusian and Russian are state languages in Belarus.