35 teachers found to have insufficient Latvian language skills

In September and October of this year, information was received from the State Language Centre (VVC) regarding 35 teachers with inadequate knowledge of the official – Latvian – language, the State Service of Education Quality (IKVD) said Monday, November 13.

14 teachers in general educational institutions, 12 preschool teachers, 8 teachers in vocational schools, as well as one teacher in a special educational school, have been found to lack language skills at a sufficient level. Employment legal relations have been terminated with 14 teachers referred to, 12 have been suspended, and 9 are on temporary leave.

IKVD carried out an evaluation of the activities of 74 schools and preschools in September and October. When visiting an educational institution, IKVD experts assessed whether the educational process takes place in Latvian and whether the head of the educational institution has implemented the appropriate professional activity, ensuring a Latvian educational environment.

The education process of 94% of educational institutions was conducted in Latvian on the day of the visit, mainly in Russian in 3 educational institutions.

47% of the visited educational institutions have not carried out systemic evaluation of teachers' Latvian language skills. Information about this has been sent to the State Language Center. 32% of the students had difficulties communicating in Latvian during lessons.

In September and October 2023 an evaluation was carried out in the educational institutions of Rīga, Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jēkabpils, Jūrmala, Liepāja, Rēzekne, Ventspils, as well as Augšdaugava, Jelgava, Līvani, Olaine, Rēzekne, Ropaži, Viļāni, Valmiera municipality.

As reported numerous times by LSM, a gradual transition to teaching in Latvian language only has been initiated this year in Latvia. This school year, schools which previously taught in both Latvian and Russian are teaching years 1, 4, and 7 in Latvian only. 

In September 2022, the Saeima supported a gradual transition to teaching only in the official state language at the general education and pre-school level over three years. The Education Ministry has previously indicated that the changes affect 17% of teachers and 24% of pupils in pre-primary and primary education.

From September 1, 2023, pre-primary education will only be carried out in the official language. Accordingly, a minority pre-primary education program and a minority special pre-primary education program will no longer be implemented.

The changes concern both local government and private preschools and kindergartens.

In primary education, the transition will be gradual:

  • from September 1, 2023, education will be fully in the official language for years 1, 4, and 7;
  • from September 1, 2024, for years 2, 5, and 8;
  • from September 1, 2025, for years 3, 6, and 9.

In vocational education institutions, the teaching language will be narrowed to languages of the European Union.

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