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Language reform in Latvia’s Russian-speaking schools ‘a nightmare’, says former Riga mayor

May 17, 17:42 UTC+3 RIGA

Under the new reform developed and approved by the Latvian parliament, all ethnic minority schools in the country should change to the Latvian language in teaching almost all subjects

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RIGA, May 17. /TASS/. The new Latvian language reform, which obligates national minority schools to teach in the country’s official language, is "a nightmare" that harms the quality of education in the country, former Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs said on Friday. Usakovs is running for the upcoming European Parliament election.

"We are strongly against the way the Russian school reform is carried out, because this is a nightmare. We have a high-quality bilingual education, which we can be proud of at the European level and share our experience with other countries, and we destroy it with our own hands. I won’t even mention that this is related to the rights of national minorities," he said in an interview with the local news agency LETA.

"Yes, we are against it, because we think that it threatens the stability of the state and harms the quality of education. It would not do to destroy something that functions well. We think that Latvians and members of national minorities should build this country together, which is a part of a shared European project," he added.

Under the new reform developed and approved by the Latvian parliament, all ethnic minority schools in the country should change to the Latvian language in teaching almost all subjects. The students of Russian schools will be able to study only the Russian language, literature and subjects related to culture and history in their native tongue. The reform is to be implemented gradually, starting from the beginning of the next academic year and ending by September 1, 2021.

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