Saving Latvia's Russian-language Schools

The Latvian association for support of Russian- language schools is to hold its conference in Riga Saturday under the motto "Studying in One's Native Language." The conference aims to prove once again that Russian-language education is quite popular in Latvia, conference organizers say. The conference is to be attended by teachers and students of Russian-language schools, parents, as well as representatives of political and public organizations. It's intended to approve an address to the republican leadership and to request that it rescind a recent decision to convert Latvia's public Russian- language schools to Latvian-language curricula. The Latvian Education Ministry estimates that over 110,000 children study at local day-time and evening public schools, thus accounting for nearly 33 percent of all Latvian school students. At the same time, students of Riga's Russian-language schools make up for 55 percent of all school students. Meanwhile the respective Daugavpils share is 85 percent. (Daugavpils is the second largest Latvian city -- Ed.) Opinion polls imply that most Latvian citizens deem it necessary that every republican resident be allowed to receive basic education in his or her native language.