Latvian Ministry of Education concerned about public invitations for distance learning in Russia

Latvia’s Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) has invited Ministry of the Interior to look into public invitations to use distance learning options in Russia.
LETA reports that a letter signed by minister Anda Čakša mentions that in summer of 2023

the topic of about acquiring education in distance learning for Latvians, which included in educational institutions founded in Russia or various other countries that express their support for the ideology and position of Russia in the war with Ukraine became a hot topic.

Because of this, due to substantiate and ideological reasons, choosing such study programmes would not be in the interests of Latvian residents, the country and the public.
In this context it is important to keep in mind that in 2021-2022 officials prepared amendments to the Education Law that provided limiting distance learning options for children of younger age. However, the Saeima rejected this option because distance learning is recognised and is in relatively high demand around the world and Latvia. This option is used for various reasons and was especially popular during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although primary education is mandatory in Latvia, existing regulations do not make it mandatory to acquire primary education in a Latvian or some other EU-registered education institution.

This is why it it is currently permitted to take a child of compulsory schooling age from the basic education program on the basis of a submitted certificate of enrolment of the child in a foreign educational institution. This included distance learning programmes.
Regulations also permit parents to receive family state benefit for a child that studies in a foreign general or vocational education institution.

IZM comments that existing regulations do not provide a clear way to influence the choice of parents – Latvian residents – when deciding on the education institutions to which they want to send their children.

Additionally, introduction of such restrictions would be subject to a compliance check for both the Constitution and proportionality.
At the same time, some calls to acquire study programmes in distance learning create anxiety and repeatedly raise the issue of the possibility of limiting such offers in Latvia. There is, for example, Jūlija Sohina’s activities. This woman invites residents on social networks to use Russia’s offers for distance learning. She also offers registration with St. Petersburg State University’s “online school”.
According to information from LETA archive,

Sohina is the assistant to Latvian MEP Tatyana Zhdanok. In 2000 she graduated from Moscow State Industrial University. Last year she ran in the 14th Saeima elections.

Considering the aforementioned, the ministry invites the Ministry of the Interior to evaluate these activities for compliance with national security interests, and limit the availability of foreign distance study programme websites in Latvia, as well as perform other preventive activities if need be.
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