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Wednesday 22.05.2019 | Name days: Emīlija
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Harmony plans turning to Constitutional Court to prevent transition to Latvian language in schools

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Why should this reform stay unrealized? It is because schools are not prepared for cardinal changes coming from dozens of other reforms that have already shocked the country’s entire general education system. Adoption of the reform will inevitably impact education quality, which is something we intend to prove in the Constitutional Court,» says chairman of National Minority School Parents Forum and member of Harmony’s work group in Konstantīns Čekušins.

Harmony’s Saeima faction officially submitted a request to the Constitutional Court on Thursday, 21 June. In it, the party officially objects to the amendment of Education Law that cancels bilingual education in secondary schools and considerably narrows the use of national minority languages in primary schools. The party claims this change breaches the country’s Constitution and international commitments, as reported by Harmony’s press-service.

As previously reported, Latvia’s Saeima has approved in the final reading amendments to the Education Law and General Education Law that provide a gradual transition to only Latvian language in secondary schools starting from 2019/2020.

Harmony’s work group believes amendments to the law are in breach of sections 1; 91; 112 and 114 of the Constitution.

Saeima deputy Boris Cilēvičs says: «In a democratic society decisions are made in line with interests and opinions of the people affected by those decisions. The right to receive education should be secured for every child regardless of their nationality and native language, and the quality of education must not be allowed to suffer.»

Harmony believes such important matters should not be resolved with pre-election hysteria and political debates, rather through a serious legislative discussion based on international standards, traditions of the Republic of Latvia and experience of other European countries.

As previously reported, MEP Andrejs Mamikins is dissatisfied with this reform: «Members of the European Parliament remind that one of the founding principles of the EU Agreement is respect of national minorities. General Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, which Latvia has ratified, dictates that with sufficient demand, education should be provided in children’s native language. MEPs especially underline that such demand exists among Russian-speakers living in Latvia».

However, Latvia’s Education Minister Kārlis Šadurskis had previously stated: «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.»

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.


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