Government okays lowering school age to six

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The Latvian government on April 3 upheld the amendments to the General Education Law and the Education Law which, among other things, provide for lowering the school age to six years from the current seven.

The reform will commence on September 1, 2019, and is to be fully implemented by the academic year 2021/2022. Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis (Unity) explained that a compromise had been reached and six-year-olds could start their elementary education either at school or a preschool which eliminated the need for a transition period.

But preschools will have to be licensed and accredited in order to provide elementary education.

The proposed amendments set forth the criteria for children who will have to start going to school at the age of six, stating that the process of preschool education (preparing children for elementary education) will be reduced from current two years to one year. The period of elementary education will remain unchanged at nine years.

The curricula for Grades 1-3 will be adapted to younger children, and the duration of one class will be cut to 35 minutes in Grade 1.

The draft legislative amendments are yet to be adopted by the parliament.

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