Demonstrations fade to a dull roar

  • 2004-09-02
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA - Despite a small number of die-hard protesters, ethnic Russian schoolchildren returned to classes on Friday, the second full-day of school, indicating that the educational reform program has so far been accomplished with minimal tension.

The Education and Research Ministry said on Friday that an appeal by Shtab, the Headquarters for the Defense of Russian Schools, to skip school as a sign of protest against the reform has largely failed, as most schoolchildren had gone to school.
No more students were out of school than usual throughout the country's largest cities, the ministry concluded.
Modra Jansone, a Riga City Council youth department specialist, said 94.9 percent of minority school students were at school even on Thursday.
"Thus we can state the empty school action organized by the Russian school defender headquarters has not come true," she told the Baltic News Service.
About 150 schoolchildren did, however, take part in a demonstration in downtown Riga on Friday, and most of them were reportedly from four Riga high schools.
By comparison, Jansone said during the spring strikes even up to 60 percent of kids stayed out of classes at certain schools.
In other largest cities the situation was similar.
"The minister believes such absence from classes is like for a normal school day," said adviser to education and research minister, Edgars Vaikulis.
The education reform envisages that students of tenth grade classes at minorities schools will have to learn 60 percent of subjects in latvian as of this fall.