Education employees will ask president to repeal «loyalty amendments»

Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees will request President Raimonds Vejonis not to promulgate the so-called teacher loyalty amendments to the Education Law if Saeima passes the amendments Wednesday.

Should Saeima pass the controversial amendments to the Education Law on Wednesday, which stipulate, among other things, in which cases a person may not work as a teacher, the Education and Science Employees' Trade Union will turn to Vejonis, asking that the amendments be not promulgated, as the union's chairwoman Inga Vanaga told LETA Tuesday.

According to the union, the amendments have to be reviewed in three readings, not two. The new version of the amendments, submitted by Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis, has not been reviewed by Saeima Education, Culture and Science Committee, which did not support the original version of the amendments also.

Taking into account the new provisions that Sadurskis has included in the amendments, the legislation has to be discussed repeatedly, and the amendments therefore cannot be promulgated by the president, said the union.

As reported, Saeima on October 31 approved in the first reading amendments to the Education Law under which the employer will be able to immediately terminate employment relations with a teacher or school headmaster for disloyalty to the Latvian state or the Latvian Constitution or for imbuing students with wrong attitudes to life, society and the country.

On November 10, the government approved for the second reading in the parliament the proposals by Sadurskis for the bill in question, specifying the cases when disloyal teachers could be fired.

Sadurskis said the bill was likely to draw criticism from the opposition lawmakers also during the second reading in the parliament.

The Education and Science Ministry said previously the purpose of the bill was to prevent risks to national and public interests, democracy, security and growth from illegal activities by teachers and school headmasters disloyal to Latvia.

The bill was conceived following an incident in which a pro-Russia activist, working as a teacher in a Russian-language school in Riga, openly stated his disloyalty to Latvia in a radio interview, causing suspicions that he most probably was not raising his students as Latvian patriots.

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