Latvian court finds switch to official language in minority schools in line with constitution

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 24, 2019
Adjust font size:

RIGA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The Latvian Constitutional Court has ruled the gradual transition to the state language planned in Latvia's ethnic minorities' schools to be in line with the constitution, local media reported Tuesday.

The Court delivered the ruling after hearing a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of the amended education law providing for a gradual switch to Latvian as the sole language of teaching by the academic year 2021/2022.

However, ethnic minority schools will still be able to introduce identity and integration-related subjects taught in the minority languages.

The lawsuit against the language reform in minority schools was filed by the opposition left-wing Harmony party which sees the provision requiring the transition to Latvian as almost only language of instruction as discriminatory.

Ineta Ziemele, chief judge of the Latvian Constitutional Court, told reporters that the ruling in this case was significant in that it required taking a broader look at Latvia's society.

"We concluded that the amendments to the education law were another step towards providing each citizen and resident of Latvia with the level of language proficiency necessary to obtain information and engage in the public discourse," said Ziemele. "At last, there will be an opportunity for all high school graduates to participate in debates," said the chief judge.

Harmony released a statement expressing regret over the court ruling which the party sees as supporting a "politicized and groundless reform". Harmony warned that the language reform would lead to a deterioration of education quality in minority schools which in turn will leave their graduates less competitive in comparison with their peers from schools attended mainly by ethnic Latvians.

The reform, initiated by former education and science minister Karlis Sadurskis of the ruling center-right Unity party, has been heatedly debated in parliament and triggered a series of mass protests led by advocates of Latvia's Russian schools, particularly the Russian Union of Latvia.

After the reform, the proportion of subjects are taught in Latvian in ethnic minority schools will have to reach at least 50 percent in grades 1 to 6; 80 percent in grades 7 to 9 and 100 percent in grades 10 to 12. The schools will still be able to teach the language, literature, as well as culture and history-related subjects in the minorities' native languages. Enditem

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from