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Latvia plans to phase out teaching in Russian in country's state schools

January 21, 2014, 19:27 UTC+3 21
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RIGA, January 21 (Itar-Tass) - Latvia is planning to switch all state-financed Russian-speaking schools to the Latvian language from September 1, 2018, goes the draft coalition agreement Latvian political forces are set to sign Wednesday, January 22. A special task group to draw up a project was set up late last year.

The document stipulates preparation of a legal framework and a social and economic feasibility study to justify transition to the state language for all education programmes save for foreign languages and disciplines necessary for learning languages and ethnic cultures of ethnic minorities.

Meanwhile, Russian-speaking population accounts for about 40 percent of Latvia’s more than 2 million population, yet Latvian is the republic’s sole national language.

Earlier, on September 1, 2004 Latvia enacted the education reform that caused uproar as it introduced a bilingual system in the ethnic minorities’ schools - only 40 percent of disciplines could be taught in Russian in senior school.

The idea has been actively pushed forward by the nationalist movement All for Latvia! which is now part of the ruling coalition, but their initiative did not find wide support. In response, last February human rights activists attempted to grant the Russian language the status of a second national language in Latvia in a referendum, but a majority of citizens rejected the proposal.

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