Requirements for Latvian language education in national minority kindergartens to increase

Education programmes of national minority kindergartens will soon be amended to ensure increased requirements for Latvian language education, as the Director of the State Education Content Centre Guntars Catlaks told journalists, presenting new pre-school education guidelines.

«Following previously approved amendments to Education Law and General Education Law, which provide for gradual transition to Latvian language in education, we plan to provide children in pre-school education options to learn Latvian language to be able to continue school years in primary schools and other stages of national education system,» said Catlaks.

Guidelines state that when undergoing pre-school education programmes will have to learn how to answer questions about what they see and hear, be able to properly voice their needs, sustain a conversation, properly pronounce syllables and length signs and write elements of letters from the Latvian alphabet.

It is planned to ensure that Latvian language is properly taught in pre-school education institutions every day to ensure compliance with new guidelines.

At the same time, it is also planned to make sure teachers communicate with children in Latvian language during play time, except for activities associated with teaching national minority languages.

The new education content is planned to be introduced in autumn 2018.

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.

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