Saeima Speaker Daiga Mieriņa (Union of Greens and Farmers) said during her first foreign visit to Estonia that Estonian could be the second foreign language in Latvian border area schools. In Valka, Russian and German are currently offered as the second foreign language.
It is planned that, from the year 2026/2027, all educational institutions will be required to provide one of the languages of the European Union (EU) or a foreign language governed by intergovernmental agreements in the field of education. This means that the Russian language will likely no longer be an option.
Several children addressed by LTV at Valka school admitted that they would like to learn Estonian.
“If you ever go to Estonia and want to buy something, then you don't understand Estonian. And if you understood, you could read how much it cost and you could ask a person for something,“ said Baiba, a student at Valka Jānis Cimze grammar school.
“Because my mom works in Estonia, and because I want to learn a lot of languages,” said Sofija, another student.
“We have a parents' council very active in school and there have been a number of instances where parents have wanted to, but unfortunately we are unable to provide it,” said Lilita Kreicberga, principal of the Valka Jānis Cimze grammar school. “To dream that teachers from Estonia would come here... No. They have different salaries, and they don't know Latvian.”
In Estonia, the average teacher's salary is approximately EUR 1700 and, in order for teachers to come to Latvian schools, the remuneration would most likely have to be even higher.
The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) expressed support for the introduction of Estonian or Lithuanian language in the border area schools, as this could be a good solution in the labor market. However, it is too early to talk about certain funding.
In order to introduce Lithuanian or Estonian as the second foreign language in the border area, according to the Ministry, State institutions and local governments need to cooperate more.