Twelve teachers in Liepāja leave jobs over language requirement

In the schools of Liepāja, eight teachers have written their resignation after a failed state language check, four more have been dismissed due to insufficient knowledge of the Latvian language, and another six have suspicious sick leaves. Teachers are lacking, especially in science, Kurzeme Television reported on August 17.

Anna Barčenkova has been working for 25 years in Liepaja's 3rd Secondary School as a science teacher and has successfully passed the state language test. Until now, lessons have been provided bilingually, both Latvian and Russian. The teacher thinks that the training process will be slower now, as explaining the subject in Latvian will take more time.

“I don't know how children will be prepared. We have Latvian materials. We have books, workbooks, worksheets, everything. I hope it will alright. The children have different levels of knowledge,” Barčenkova said.

Liepājas 3rd Secondary School has been teaching both minority and Latvian children for three years. Consequently, Russian-speaking teachers already have the experience of teaching in Latvian. Four teachers, however, did not pass the state language test and wrote their resignations, two more were suspended, while one managed to pass the language test with the second attempt.

“We were now recruiting new teachers, new colleagues with a much better knowledge of the state language, but there are still vacancies,” prinicpal Gaļina Skorobogatova said.

At Liepāja 7th High School, four teachers have resigned both because of language knowledge and other conditions.Principal Pāvels Jurs said that there is no shortage of teachers and that all the places have been filled.

“Whatever tests may come, if the teacher stands in front of the children and their job is to teach, prepare for exams, provide quality education, it is not possible without the Latvian language,” the principal said.

The Liepāja Education Board provides state language courses, as well as methodological planning support for teachers. The problem is the lack of science teachers, particularly in the fourth and seventh years.

TV Kurzeme failed to communicate with the parent boards of minority schools. In the meantime, the people surveyed are mostly positive about the expected changes in education.

“It's very good. For them, it will be better. Only if they choose it themselves, if they want to live in Latvia,” said Liepāja resident Maira.

“I believe it is a good thing because we live in Latvia and need to speak Latvian to everyone. The Russian language can be learned as an additional subject,” said Kristīne.

The Liepāja Education Board reports that there are currently eight vacancies in minority schools.

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