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Fifty percent in Latvia don’t want foreign schools in country

Feb 07, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

Up to 50 percent of Latvian residents disapprove of other countries opening schools in Latvia, latest research shows.

Elsewhere, 39 percent approve of other countries establishing schools in Latvia, according to a survey carried out by the media research company TNS Latvia and LNT television. 11 percent have no opinion.

The survey was conducted from January 28-30. A total of 750 residents ages 18 to 55 were interviewed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Jan. 21 the Federation's plan to establish Russian schools in foreign countries, including the Baltic States.

The plan has already received the go-ahead from the government, 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."

The plans have been met with criticism from Baltic officials including Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics who called the proposals "unacceptable."

Russian officials have also said no schools would be built without the proper permission. Russia is looking to set up Sunday school establishments rather than full time schools. Russian ambassador to Latvia, Aleksandr Veshnyakov said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed dissatisfaction over Latvia's plans to switch to education in Latvian on September 1, 2018.

Russian Foreign Ministry representative Alexander Lukashevich calls on the European Union and international human rights organizations to assess this reform.

Lukashevich believes that the reform aims at forcefully assimilating Russian-speaking minorities in Latvia.

The coalition's agreement stipulates that state-funded minority schools will have to switch to education in Latvian on September 1, 2018, except for the respective minority's language and culture classes.

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