Latgalian language in Latgale's schools lacks funding

For two years, funding from two sources was available for teaching the language of Latvia's eastern region – Latgalian language – in schools. This year, there are no more of them. Latgalian associations and teachers are demanding permanent funding, Latvian Television reported on August 19.

For two years, the financing from“Latvian State Forests” allowed teachers from Rogovka and teacher Biruta in Rēzekne. Both are pleased with what has been done, but further plans differ.

“I'll keep the lessons with those kids I've been teaching for two years, of course.[..] Of course I still have to learn, because I don't know all the writing rules,” said Ilona Punāne.

“The pupils were interested, they did and wanted to do it. They were happy to come, but my age is what it is,” said teacher Biruta Trimalniece.

Teacher Biruta will not continue teaching the Latgalian language but the teacher Ilona will continue.

The Association of Latgalian Language, Literature, and Cultural History teachers and 18 other non-governmental organizations in Latgale are convinced that separate, permanent funding for teaching Latgalian is needed to continue. This year there is no longer available funding for “Latvian State Forests”, or another program from the Ministry of Education or Science (IZM).

"There must be some sort of succession. Can't do it like it is now – teach for two years and everything stops. The state must fulfill its duty toward language," said Veronika Dundure, head of the Latgalian Association of Teachers, Literature and Cultural History.

The Latgalian writing language is a type of Latvian language, so it must be taught in accordance with the Constitution, Veronika Dundure said. The Ministry of Education and Science explains that funding could be available next year, but no separate program is planned for teaching Latgalian only. The Ministry calls for the teaching of Latgalian to be financed from the funding allocated to extracurricular education. Will it be enough, each municipality will have to calculate.

How many schools will continue to teach Latgalian language without any funding available will be known at the beginning of the school year.

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