Harmony demands education minister report on first results of school language reform

  • 2020-01-17
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Members of the Harmony group in Saeima want Education and Science Minister Ilga Suplinska (New Conservative Party, JKP) to provide a detailed report on the first results of the ongoing language reform in ethnic minority schools and how it has affected students' academic success, the party informed LETA. 

The Harmony group has asked the Education and Science Ministry to provide information how and with what methods the reform is being monitored. The lawmakers argue that in order to ensure high quality education for Latvia's children, the education policy has to be based on objective data. 

When introducing any reforms, it is necessary to follow their implementation, to collect and analyze the results shown by the students, the party said.

Now that half a year has passed since the new rules for the use of the state language in teaching students of first to seventh grades came into effect, Harmony has come up with a number of questions to the education authorities. 

The MPs want to know how the number and structure of the schoolchildren attending Latvia's ethnic minority schools have changed. 

Citing OECD data, the party notes that students at Latvia's ethnic minority schools are showing increasingly poor results in reading, mathematics and sciences. 

Harmony also asks about the results the students have shown in the second semester of the academic year 2018/2019 and the first semester of the academic year 2019/2020 in subjects that are now taught either in Latvian or bilingually in accordance with the new requirements. 

As reported, Saeima passed the amendments stipulating a gradual transition to Latvian as the sole language of instruction in Latvia's schools in March 2018. Under the amendments, teaching in Latvian will be phased in gradually from September 1, 2019 to September 1, 2021.