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    LATVIAN MPs STRIP RUSSIAN SCHOOLS OF THE RIGHT TO TEACH IN RUSSIAN

    RIGA, January 22nd, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Anatoly Baranovsky) - The Latvian Sejmas has banned the teaching of obligatory subjects in Russian at Russian schools of the republic.

    The Sejmas adopted an amendment to the effect to the current law On Education by the majority of voices on Thursday.

    In accordance with the law, from September 1, 2004 in senior classes of secondary schools of ethnic minorities, including Russian, all subjects, except the native language and other subjects dealing with ethnic identification and culture if they are optional, should be taught in the state language, i.e. Latvian.

    Consequently, observers and experts say, the MPs have virtually restored the regulation about introducing the teaching in the state language only at ethnic minorities' schools. This regulation was earlier excluded from the law On Education under the pressure of Russian-speaking residents in Latvia and international organisations.

    Other initiatives of left and centrist parties aimed to improve the organisation and the quality of ethnic minorities' education were also rejected.

    Many believe that the amendment adopted by the Sejmas will result in the liquidation of secondary education in Russian at all in the country.

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