Latvian Language Learning Programme

27.07.2018. 14:31

The Latvian language is the only official language in Latvia, which is the only country in the world where the Latvian language can develop and fulfil its functions. Therefore, consistent implementation of reasonable language policy principles is essential for the maintenance of the language.

Since Latvia regained its independence, a successive policy of Latvian as the official language has been carried out. Due to that, the share of people speaking Latvian has significantly grown among persons belonging to national minorities.

If in 1989 only 23% of persons belonging to national minorities were able to communicate in Latvian, comparatively in 2014 more than 94% of persons belonging to national minorities are communicating in Latvian. This was confirmed by the results of a survey, entitled "Sense of Belonging to Latvia" and carried out by the market and public opinion research centre SKDS from May to June 2014. The survey revealed that the Latvian language proficiency among national minority youth has considerably improved. More than 3/4 of the national minority youth aged 18 to 24 replied that their knowledge of Latvian is excellent (39%) or good (38%). Also a research by the Latvian

Language Agency “The Language Situation in Latvia: 2012 – 2015” (2016) affirms that the language proficiency amongst Latvia’s inhabitants will continue to increase. The results of the research support this statement, as, for example, all young people between 15 and 24 years of age know Latvian, and almost all young people between 25 and 34 of age are proficient in Latvian.

Schools currently have the broadest opportunities for learning Latvian. Other target groups have access to state-financed Latvian language courses. In 1995, the government set up the National Programme for Latvian Language Learning. From October 2004 onwards it has been administrated by the Latvian Language Agency (LLA).

The Latvian Language Agency ensures learning of Latvian through various means: preparation of pedagogues, drafting of teaching materials and methodological materials, language courses for people of various backgrounds (for example, parents of schoolchildren, asylum seekers, third - country nationals), preparation of electronic methodological materials, preparation of curriculum, support for Latvian language learning programmes abroad - the diaspora, foreign universities.

Free-of-charge Latvian language courses are also organised by the Society Integration Fund and the National Employment Agency.

Further information on the mission of the LLA and its activities in the field of linguistic policy, Latvian language teaching, the professional development of teachers, and other areas is available on the website of the Latvian Language Agency.