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Wednesday 25.04.2018 | Name days: Līksma, Bārbala
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Minister: learning in a single education system using state language is only obvious

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEducation using state language is our way of ensuring sustainable development of our nation, says Latvia’s Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis.

On Thursday, 22 March, the Saeima approved amendments to the Education Law and General Education Law in the third reading. These amendments provide a gradual transition to education in state language.

It is planned that the transition to education in state language will commence 1 September 2019 and will be concluded by 1 September 2021.

«A society that consists of two communities is an obstacle, not stimulus for democracy, welfare and strong state development. This is why it is our duty to take care and create conditions for national minorities in Latvia to integrate in Latvian environment as soon as possible,» says the minister.

He says that more than fourteen years were needed to continue the changes first initiated in 2004, when Latvian language became a language in which subjects were taught instead one of many subjects taught in schools.

«The bilingual education model we had introduced in 2004 was a transition period to continue introducing Latvian language in the entire education system, reducing the fragmentation of our society and giving an opportunity to our children to grow and learn together, have a sense of belonging to their country, respect and be proud of Latvia’s history and celebrate holidays together,» says Šadurskis.

At the same time, the minister says that transition to education in state language in general education institutions will ensure the introduction of new education methods and content.

General education degree prepares youngsters for continuation of education in a university or commencement of professional work. Youngsters become aware of their skills and interests to then start forming their professional and personal future. This is why there are changes planned for the education content, as well as state language and social integration expansion for national minority representatives’ freedom in vocational and higher education, where studies are carried out primarily in Latvian language.

Amendments to the Education Law provide that education of school subjects from 1st to 6th grade is to be performed at least 50% in Latvian. School subjects from 7th to 9th grade are to be taught in Latvian language in no less than 80% (this includes foreign languages). Youngsters in 10th, 11th and 12th grade are to be taught all subjects excluding foreign language in Latvian starting from 2021/2022. Children undergoing education in national minority schools will still have the right to learn their respective language, literature, culture and history in their native language.

1st-6th graders will be able to pick one of three national minority education programme examples starting from 2019/2020 school year.

By ensuring a gradual transition to education only in state language, the Education and Science Ministry will perform its international commitment to sustain and develop national minority schools. This includes provision of funding for institutions that perform national minority education programmes in accordance with international agreements. Representatives of national minorities will still have the option to receive quality education, ensuring their involvement in the labour market and preserving their native language and culture.

To ensure successful changes to the country’s education system, the ministry will realize support measures to train and improve teachers’ professional competences and state language skills. Support will be provided through special education materials and seminars.

Before amendments can come into force, they will have to be approved in the third reading by the Saeima.


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