Latvian governmental committee speaks out for amendments to education law

Latvia's governmental committee, composed of the leaders of 4 governing parties, spoke out on Monday for adopting amendments to the law On Education. The law of 1998, currently in force, stipulates the process of teaching in Latvian high schools "only in the national language" from September 1st 2004.

The Latvian governmental committee and the republic's Ministry of Education suggest that only part of subjects should be taught in Latvian. To put it more precisely, no less than 5, apart from Latvian and Literature, that is to say 60% of school hours are supposed to be devoted to Latvian, and the rest 40% to a pupil's native language, for example Russian.

In this way the government is seeking to correct the "political and tactical mistake" that was made when the effective law was adopted, the Association for Support of Russian Language Schools in Latvia believes. Nevertheless, "the political line to reduce the number of schools teaching in ethnic minorities' languages, first of all Russian, will be followed," Igor Pimenov, leader of the association, was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. A decision by the administration of the town of Elgava to close down a local Russian school, allegedly for the purpose of saving expenses, proves this, he said.

Latvian opposition left-centrist parties and Russian public organisations have voiced their intention to carry on the movement in protection of Russian schools in the republic.

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