National/Ethnic Minority Education

02.12.2014. 19:09

The Education Law adopted in 1998 serves as the foundation for regulating language learning in schools that implement national minority education programmes. The Law stipulates that national minority education programmes shall include the content necessary for members of national minority groups to develop an awareness of their respective ethnic culture, as well as to integrate into Latvian society. The reform of the educational content for the schools of national minorities was implemented gradually starting from 1995 and completed in 2007.

Starting from the school year 2004/2005, the number of subjects for grades 10–12 taught in Latvian at state and local government general education institutions was increased from 3 to 5 under the regulation that 60% of all subjects are taught in Latvian and 40% – in a national minority language. This transition was gradual – in the school year 2004/2005 the proportion was applied to grade 10, in 2005/06 – to grades 10 and 11 and in 2006/0207 – to grades 10, 11 and 12. The students were and are able now to study subjects in Latvian, national minority language or in two languages (bilingually).

The National Minority Education Consultative Council, established in 2001, helps maintain a dialogue between the Ministry of Education and Science, students and teachers of national minority schools, and parents.

The results of the state centralised exams for school year 2010/11 demonstrated that the achievements were similar both in the schools implementing education programmes in Latvian as the medium of instruction, and in the schools implementing the minority education programmes. Students in grade 12 can choose the language of centralised exams, and the statistics shows that 72% of national minority students have chosen to take their centralised exams in Latvian, and 28% - in Russian.

The changes introduced in the national minority educational programmes with regard to the medium of instruction and the state examinations have not significantly influenced the students' academic performance, and in separate school subjects, e.g., in the subjects of natural sciences, the average level is higher than the average level in the country.