In Latvia, Latvian should gradually become the sole language of instruction in kindergartens and primary schools by 2025. Riga’s parliament voted Thursday in favor of amendments to the education law proposed by the center-right government. In the Baltic EU and NATO country with a large Russian minority, the transition should therefore take place from next school year.
The reform, which has been under discussion for years, has repeatedly sparked protests from representatives of the Russian minority, which makes up over a third of Latvia’s roughly two million inhabitants.
Three classes affected in the first school year
According to the new regulation, classes 1, 4 and 7 must be taught exclusively in Latvian from September 1, 2023, one year later this also applies to classes 2, 5 and 8. In classes 3, 6 and 9 the switch will take place . place will then take place in the 2025 school year. The law applies to both public and private educational institutions. And in the future, the language of instruction in vocational training institutions will also be limited to the official languages of the European Union.
There are special schools for members of the Russian minority, where some subjects could previously be taught in Russian. This will now no longer be possible. To this end, the language and cultural history of minorities will be taught in extracurricular education programs in the future.
Latvian is the only official language in the Baltic state bordering Russia, which was involuntarily part of the Soviet Union after World War II until 1991.