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Latvia’s Saeima supports transition to education state language in second reading

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Thursday, 8 March, Latvia’s parliament supported in the second reading amendments to the law to ensure schools in Latvia gradually transition to education only in state language. It is planned for the transition to commence 1 September 2019 and end 1 September 2021.

Transition to education in state language in general education institutions, according to the government, will assist with introduction of new education content and teaching approaches. As one of the most important goals of this change, the government mentions providing every child and youngster equal rights to receive quality education, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

It is mentioned in the report that secondary school education prepares children for continued education in a university and future careers. This is why planned changes for the education process and state language integration is planned to expand the options for national minority children for enrolling in vocational and higher education, where education process is performed 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.

Ref: 225.109.109.4011


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