Over 107,000 Russian-speaking residents of Latvia sign petition in support of Russian schools

The Latvian association in support of schools with tuition in Russian /LASHOR/ has passed to the Latvian Education Ministry an appeal from 107,000 Russian-speaking residents of Latvia For Free Choice of Tuition Language. They voice concern over the planned switchover of Russian and other ethnic minorities schools to Lettish.

Under the incumbent Latvian education law, on September 1, 2004 at least five subjects /60 percent of the school time/ are to be taught in Lettish and the remaining 40 percent in the native tongue in the senior grades of state and municipal secondary schools for ethnic minorities.

In the opinion of parents, teachers and schoolchildren attending such schools, the curtailment of native-tongue tuition will lead to the degradation of the quality of education and the loss of ethnic identity by representatives of ethnic minorities.

They ask for schools themselves to chose a tuition language and propose to improve the system of education for ethnic minorities so as, alongside preserving the high level of teaching Lettish as the state language, preserve their right to get native-tongue tuition.

LASHOR president of the board Igor Pimenov has handed in the appeal to Latvian Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis. He has promised to study the appeal for "a rational kernel".

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