Amendments approved by the Saeima to perform a full transition to education in Latvian language in the country’s schools will have a negative impact on mutual relations between Latvia and Russia, and Latvia will be the one responsible, as announced by Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
«Latvia’s capital should understand that by making unfriendly steps it is only making mutual relations more complicated. All the responsibility for that lies on Latvia’s shoulders,» as mentioned in Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s information and press department’s commentary published on its official website.
«Massive protests, the decision by Russian-speaking residents to the country’s president and leading global human rights institutions, Latvian Russian language support associations against the approved amendments get no attention from state institutions,» as mentioned in the statement.
«Such odious steps realized under pretentious slogans are claimed to be realized ‘for the benefit of children and their parents’, and supposedly following their own request, in truth have nothing in common with respecting the interests of national minorities living in the country. It is exactly the opposite – this represents the continuation of Latvia’s 25 years’ worth of discriminatory policy aimed at forced assimilation of Russian-speaking residents,» as mentioned in the statement.
The ministry also mentions that «once again under the slogans of integration and strengthening state language’s position the internationally recognized rights of more than one-third of this Baltic republic’s residents are tossed aside».
«Amendments approved by Latvia’s Saeima in a nationalistic majority go against the declaration adopted by this country’s government regarding high trust in democratic standards and values, as well as a number of international laws,» the statement from the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry mentions.
«Hopefully this act will receive a just response from international institutions,» the ministry adds.
Amendments to the Education Law provide that education of school subjects from 1st to 6th grade is to be performed at least 50% in Latvian. School subjects from 7th to 9th grade are to be taught in Latvian language in no less than 80% (this includes foreign languages). Youngsters in 10th, 11th and 12th grade are to be taught all subjects excluding foreign language in Latvian starting from 2021/2022. Children undergoing education in national minority schools will still have the right to learn their respective language, literature, culture and history in their native language.
1st-6th graders will be able to pick one of three national minority education programme examples starting from 2019/2020 school year.
By ensuring a gradual transition to education only in state language, the Education and Science Ministry will perform its international commitment to sustain and develop national minority schools. This includes provision of funding for institutions that perform national minority education programmes in accordance with international agreements. Representatives of national minorities will still have the option to receive quality education, ensuring their involvement in the labour market and preserving their native language and culture.