Open lessons of native language and Abaza literature were held in one of the schools in Karachay-Cherkessia, marking the beginning of the annual Festival of Abaza language and literature

Said Bargandzhia

An annual Festival of the Abaza language and literature has opened in Karachay-Cherkessia.  It began with two open lessons in the native language and literature, which were held at the Elburgan secondary school.

The festival is held by the “Alashara” International Association together with the Karachay-Cherkess State University, the Ministry of Education and Science of the KChR and the administration of the Abaza municipal district. This year, according to the organizers, the festival has become larger and is being carried out using the funds of the Presidential grant received by the “Alashara”.

The first stage of the Festival: open lessons

Open lessons were held for children of different ages: fifth and ninth graders. The course was supervised by professor and linguist Sergey Pazov, head of the department of Kabardino-Circassian and Abaza languages ​​and literature of the Karachay-Cherkess Republican Institute for Advanced Studies of educators Bilyal Khasarokov, head of the Abaza department of the Karachay-Cherkess Institute of Humanitarian Studies Aishat Dzyba, head of the department of education and culture of the administration of Abaza municipal district Zemfira Murtazova, teachers of the Abaza language and literature of schools of the Abaza district and staff of the ANO “Alashara”.

Experts and organizers noted the good preparation of the students.

“The most important thing: the children are wonderful and speak very good Abaza. When there are such students, there is someone to work with and something to work on,” said Professor Pazov.

The festival will continue with contests of readers, essays and the Olympiad in the Abaza language and literature, which will be held in Cherkessk, in gymnasium No. 16.

“This year we received more applications for participation in competitions. In addition to students from Karachay-Cherkessia, schoolchildren and students from Abkhazia will take part in them,” the linguist said.

Festival program 

The number of festival participants is increasing every year, said Sergey Pazov. So, the number of applications submitted by pupils and students for participation in the competitions of the Festival this year is about 200.

“Every year new forms of events and contests are included in the program of the Festival, the geography of participants is expanding. The program [of the current year] includes demonstration master classes of the best teachers of the Abaza language and Abaza literature, a competition for readers for students of secondary school No. 2 of Gudauta, Republic of Abkhazia and first-year students of the Abkhaz State University, a meeting of schoolchildren and students from Abkhazia with peers and the teaching staff of the Education Center named after Vladislav Ardzinba of Kara-Pago village, Abaza district of the KChR,” said the professor and added: the experience of holding annual Festivals shows that, despite all the preparation and implementation troubles, they are recognized by the pedagogical community as an important element in the preservation and development of the Abaza language, literature, and culture.

“This is evidenced by the growing interest in festival events from both students and teachers.  All events are coordinated with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, the Administration of the Abaza municipal district, and since 2019, with the relevant ministry of the Republic of Abkhazia, which provide significant organizational support,” Pazov explained.

All events of the festival are aimed at preserving and developing the language, literature and culture of the small people of Abaza, the formation of a steady interest of students in their native language and native literature.

“The master classes held this year showed that we have experienced and highly qualified teachers, there are students who know their native language and native literature quite well. Our task is to share this experience with all schools where the level of knowledge is lower, the possibilities of teaching language and literature are less. This is especially true for municipal schools,” said Sergey Pazov.

History of the festival

The festival has existed since December 2014. Then, on the initiative of the Chair of Circassian and Abaza Philology department of the Institute of Philology of the Karachay-Cherkess State University named after Aliyev and with the active support of the public organizations “Abaza” and “Intellectual and Creative Society of Youth”, with the assistance of the Ministry of Karachay-Cherkess Republic for Nationalities, Mass Communications and Press on the basis of the state university and the secondary school of the Elburgan village of the Abaza district of Karachay-Cherkessia, an international scientific conference “Abaza language and literature: the problem of preservation and development” was held. The conference was dedicated to the 135th birthday of Tatlustan Tabulov, enlightener and founder of Abaza literature. In fact, these were the first “Tabulov readings” - now a traditional scientific and practical conference.

The following year, on the initiative and under the direct supervision of the philanthropist and public figure, the head of the “Alashara” Autonomous Non-Profit Organization and the current Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC, Mussa Ekzekov, a working group was created and active work began on the formation of the Alashara program “Abaza and Abkhaz: preservation and development of languages, field research and archival materials (work program for 2016-2026).” The program included several studies and events, among which were “Klychev readings”, “Tabulov readings” and the “Festival of the Abaza language and literature”.

The Festival of the Abaza language and literature from the very beginning includes several events: a competition of essays by students of secondary schools and colleges of Karachay-Cherkessia in the Abaza language, a competition of readers, an Olympiad in the Abaza language and Abaza literature. The Festival traditionally ends with “Tabulov readings” where the results of the competitions are summarized, an awarding ceremony is held for students - winners of the competitions, as well as teachers who prepared them.