RIGA - President Raimonds Vejonis has promulgated the bills providing for a gradual transition to Latvian as the only language of instruction in all Latvia’s high schools.
He said that high school studies in Latvian will provide all students with equal opportunities to obtain good-quality education, which is the government’s main goal - ensuring high-quality education to young people and their competitiveness in the labor market.
“The children will always have the opportunity to learn ethnic minorities, identity and culture-related subjects, to cultivate their roots and comprehensively develop their personalities,” President Vejonis said.
The president indicated that it is the duty of each country to protect its compatriots, and that only Russia itself can therefore comment on its Foreign Ministry’s statement claiming that the language reform in Latvia’s minority schools will damage bilateral Latvian-Russian relations.
Earlier, the Harmony faction in Saeima had issued an appeal to President Vejonis asking him not to promulgate the bills providing for the transition to education in Latvia in ethnic minority schools.
As reported, on March 22 Saeima passed in the final reading amendments to the Education Law and the Law on General Education under which schools of ethnic minorities will have to start gradual transition to Latvian-only secondary education in the 2019/2020 academic year.
The legislative amendments providing for a gradual transition to education in Latvian in all public schools will be implemented gradually from September 1, 2019, to September 1, 2021.
Already in preschools, starting from the age of five, new education guidelines will be introduced in 2019/2020 school year, providing for a bigger role of the Latvian language in the study process.
A new bilingual education model will be introduced in grades 1-6, ensuring that at least 50 percent of the subjects are taught in Latvian, and in grades 7-9, ensuring that at least 80 percent of the study contents is in Latvian in 2019/2020. The final exams for the 9th grade pupils will be held entirely in Latvia.
Starting from 2020/2021 school year all general education subjects in grades 10 and 11 will be taught only in the Latvian language, while children of ethnic minorities will continue learning their native language, literature and subjects related to culture and history in the respective minority language.
Starting from 2021/2022 school year all general education subjects in high school (grades 10-12) will be taught only in the Latvian language, while children of ethnic minorities will continue learning their native language, literature and subjects related to culture and history in the respective minority language.