MPs backtrack on change to Latvia's school starting age

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Plans to lower the school starting age in Latvia from 7 to 6 years of age hit a snag May 31 with a parliamentary committee reviewing proposed education reforms refusing to endorse the move.

An alliance of coalition and opposition MPs on the Saeima Education Committee expressed reservations about the switch in a blow to education minister Karlis Šadurskis that saw the lawmakers making multiple changes to the Education Ministry's plans. 

The idea of ​​starting six-year-olds in the first class was canceled and greater freedom for secondary schools to create syllabuses was also rejected. The commission also voted to introduce curriculum reforms a year later than initially proposed by the ministry.

Previously, the Saeima conceptually supported the amendments to the Education Law and the Law on General Education, which provides for the start of schooling from the age of six years. The reform was planned from 1 September 2019.

The amendments to the law are being prepared by the commission for the second reading, but disagreements even within the ruling coalition have been more and more apparent in recent weeks, with the shadow of October's parliamentary elections perhaps playing a role.

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