Minister says phasing Russian language should not affect validity of primary education diplomas

The government is currently looking for a way to ensure the 9th grade or primary education diploma remains valid if a student decides not to study Russian language, as Latvian Minister of Education Anda Čakša mentioned in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorāma.
Currently the primary education standard does not allow that. There is no solution at the moment, but there will be one. “It’s clear that students will be able to complete the 9th grade if they or their parents decide to drop Russian language studies,” said the politician.
At the same time, she admits there are still problems with availability of EU language teachers. On top of that, there are serious problems not only in regions but in Riga as well.
The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) tried to reduce the shortage of foreign language teachers using stipends. However, until the situation has improved, schools will have to make do with “various creative solutions”, such as by organising remove foreign language activities, said Čakša.

The politician admitted that a complete cessation of Russian language studies and its replacement with some EU language in two years’ time would be a major undertaking.

The minister added that the number of French language students at the University of Latvia did go up last year. However, it is the ministry’s objective to ensure these students enter the education system once they graduate and not go work elsewhere. This is about supporting teachers and raising the prestige of the teacher’s profession.
As previously reported, IZM proposed for schools to start gradually introducing one of EU’s official languages or a foreign language, the acquisition of which is regulated by intergovernmental agreements in the field of education starting with 2026/2027. Russian language is not such a language.
The current regulatory framework does not oblige schools to offer one of the official languages of the EU as a second foreign language to teach student. This means it can be any language, which is mainly Russian. According to the data available to the ministry, almost half of Latvian schools teach it as the second foreign language. Some educational institutions do not offer an alternative to learning Russian.
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