Riga mayor proposes extra lessons in minority languages

Starting September 1, 2019 the Riga municipality will offer extra lessons for Riga minority language students, held in their native language, said Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) appearing on LTV on November 30. 

This comes after the Education Ministry announced plans to introduce the majority of education in the Latvian language at schools currently teaching in Russian. Ušakovs has denounced this step, which he deems unnecessary.

Ušakovs said that the municipality wants children in minority schools to know both their native language and Latvian, and to be able to learn 

It is estimated the program would cost about €2m. 

"In order to ensure quality education, knowledge of Latvian and the protection of minority rights in Riga, we'll be offering a new program from 2019. We'll ensure minority schools with city-paid extra lessons in subjects that are on the curriculum in the native language.

"This means that, for example, after holding a physics lesson in the state language, pupils will be able to go to an extra lesson [in their native language] both to get better acquainted with the subject matter and to learn something extra in their native language," Ušakovs said. 

The Education Minister Kārlis Šadurskis told Latvian Radio that Ušakovs had presented the idea to him and the PM and that they both want more precise details over the proposal.

Šadurskis said that what's most important is that the extra funding should be divvied up in a just manner for all Riga's students. 

As has been reported previously, the Ministry of Education and Science intends that after three years in secondary schools all general education subjects, or core curriculum, will be taught only in the Latvian language. Minority students are expected to retain the ability to learn minority languages, literature and cultural and historical subjects in other languages, however.

On October 23, up to 400 people gathered outside the Education Ministry in central Riga October 23 to protest the plan.

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