According to the minister, it is not advisable to start switching to teaching in Latvian from the next academic year, as this carries the risks of litigation in the Constitutional Court, which will further delay the process. Therefore, a transitional period is needed, during which the Ministry of Education and Science will talk not only with schools, but also with embassies of foreign countries, since Latvia has signed intergovernmental agreements with several countries regarding education.
It also takes time for the parents of citizens belonging to linguistic minorities to be able to prepare, she explained.
Muižniece noted that the first task within the framework of the transition to the Latvian language has already been successfully completed. This includes additional language courses for teaching staff and the purchase of required teaching materials for schools where teaching is conducted in minority languages.
“I would like to open a clean page tomorrow, but for me, as a minister, it is important that the decisions we make are relevant for a long time,” Muižniece explained.
The minister named May 24 as the next important date. By that day, the ministries participating in the process must approve amendments to the regulations to implement the transition to teaching only in the state language.
Within the framework of the first phase, schoolchildren of the first, fourth and seventh grades will start studying only in Latvian; within the framework of the second phase – the second, fifth and eighth grades; from 2025/2026 – absolutely all children in all schools in Latvia. Muižniece did not indicate the expected dates for the start of the first and second phases.
A gradual movement towards the transition to education only in the national language has been carried out in Latvia since 2004, starting from which the volume of lessons that schools can teach in the languages of national minorities is gradually decreasing. As noted tv3.lvin the 2021/2022 academic year, the proportion of instruction in non-Latvian in schools is between 20% and 50% in primary grades, while in secondary schools minority languages are only allowed as an option for a number of subjects related to the culture of the country of native speakers.
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