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Russia won’t be able to set up schools in Baltics, says minister

Jan 23, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

Russia will not be able to fulfill its intention of setting up Russian schools in Latvia, since it will not be able to receive all the required licenses and permits, Education and Science Minister Ina Druviete has said.

The comments come after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country wanted to build specialist Russian schools in nearby countries, including the Baltics.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called the plans "totally unacceptable."

Latvia, being a European Union member state, decides its internal matters itself, which also concerns educational matters, Druviete told Latvian Radio. She said Russia would not be able to fulfill its plans while observing Latvian regulations.

"It is not a simple process. Licenses, curriculum and accreditation are required to establish an educational institution in Latvia. There are also other mandatory preconditions. In addition, those studying in such schools would experience difficulties during state exams, which are held in Latvian," said the minister.

However, the plans have already received the go-ahead from the Kremlin, Lavrov explained, adding that Russia "will attempt to come to agreement not only with the Baltic States, but with other neighboring countries as well, where our nationals reside, setting up schools at our expense."

Lavrov also said that instruction in these schools would be based on Russian standards, expressing the wish that this school system would materialize as soon as possible. But he added that "not everything depends on the Foreign Ministry."

Latvian Foreign Minister, Rinkevics explained that the establishment of such schools in Latvia is near impossible, since all educational institutions in Latvia must observe local regulations. Such schools can be set up with the help of intergovernmental agreements, but their usefulness is questionable, emphasized the minister.

Latvia is already funding 99 schools, where classes are being taught in seven minority languages. These schools have a single curriculum, facilitating social integration based on European values and Latvia's identity. Within this context, the establishment of schools based on different standards is questionable, explained Rinkevics.

Lithuania and Estonia have also expressed similar opinions.

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