Strict monitoring planned of school transition to Latvian only

The biggest challenge of the next school year will be the transition to the Latvian language only in general education. Minister Anda Čakša (New Unity), together with the State Education Quality Service, promises enhanced inspections, Latvian Radio reported on August 23.

In this school year, years 1, 4, and 7 of minority schools should start learning in Latvian only, years 2, 5, and next year, and 3, 6 and 9 the year after that.

Changes will affect 129 schools, 43,000 pupils and approximately 4,000 teachers. The change will also affect 136 pre-schools across the country, more than 13,000 children and more than 1,300 kindergarten teachers.

“Year 7 is probably one of the biggest challenges, because until now, in minority programs, the acquisition of content in Latvian could be carried out at 50%,” said Liene Voroņenko, head of the State Education Content Center.

There are also problems with learning the Latvian language at the level of C1 for teachers of minority schools – the Ministry officially acknowledges that are around 10% are not at the required level, but even 25% has been mentioned in informal talks.

In the last school year, inspections of the State Education Quality Service in schools have also been activated. The head of the service, Inita Juhņēviča, said that 96 schools had been visited last year, and 116 teachers had no knowledge of the official language at the required level, 64 of them had been dismissed, 27 suspended for a period, 15 are currently on sick leave.

The tests will continue in September, and no derogation will be allowed, if necessary, the State Language Center will also be associated with the inspections.

"We have a clear timetable for how we're going to check. There's no way back here. This is a matter of all our security. Many municipalities have already dealt with this internally. But I understand that here we have to talk really about Rēzekne and Daugavpils, where it may not be perceived as a nationally important," Juhņēviča said.


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