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Parents’ meeting in Latvia gathers more than 900 opponents of school language reform

March 31, 2018, 16:41 UTC+3 RIGA

Last week, the Saeima of Latvia had adopted the reform, according to which the national minorities would have to switch to teaching most subjects in Latvian starting from 2020

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RIGA, March 31. /TASS/. All-Latvia parents’ meeting in Riga attracted over 900 participants who disagree with transferring national minorities schools to teaching in Latvian, a representative of the Russian School Protection Headquarters movement Andrey Tolmachev told TASS on Saturday.

"People of different views have gathered here today, but they all have one common problem and one goal - to preserve Russian schools in Latvia, the right to learn in a native language. Our goal is to gather and unite everybody and say that we are all Russian people and we are all worried about this issue. By the way, not only Russians have gathered here today, but also representatives of the Latvian community who support us and believe that this reform is politicized and being implemented for the sake of elections, ministerial posts, and seats in the Saeima. For that people are ready to destroy education in Russian in Latvia with a 230-year history," Tolmachev said.

Last week, the Saeima of Latvia has adopted the reform, according to which national minorities schools would need to switch to teaching most subjects in Latvian starting from 2020. Russian would be used for teaching several subjects, such as Russian, Russian literature, as well as for "subjects related to culture and history."

It is expected that the gradual implementation of the reform will begin on September 1 next year. The President must sign the reform for it to take effect. The initiative has caused a wave of discontent among the Russian-speaking residents of Latvia, who make up about 40% of the country's population. At the same time, Latvian is the only state language of the country, and Russian is considered foreign.

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