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    LATVIAN NEW EDUCATION AND SCIENCE MINISTER INTENDS TO CONTINUE ETHNIC MINORITIES SCHOOLS' REFORM

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    RIGA, MARCH 10 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Latvia's new Education and Science Minister Juris Radzevic is going to go on with the reform of the ethnic minorities' schools.

    According to his press secretary, the minister "would not use the word 'reform' and would prefer 'the switchover to tuition in Lettish'".

    Radzevic is going to follow the government's declaration to back up the positions of Lettish in the education system.

    Very soon he will meet with "all the involved parties," including representatives of schools of each ethnic minority.

    "Until now, the biggest obstacle on the road of normal realization of the education law seemed to be the lack of dialogue, rather than the lack of desire to master Lettish," the minister believes.

    Radzevic sees no grounds for imposing moratorium on the education reform. He admitted that for the talk about reform the readiness of schools first has to analyzed and a decision taken on what other goals are in view.

    Radzevic also stressed that dialogue with every party involved in the education reform should be maintained.

    On Tuesday Yuri Patropavlovsky, activist of the headquarters for the protection of Russian schools, voiced the hope for the moratorium. He said that Radzevic "is a sensible person" and can understand the real situation with the education reform, take an acceptable decision. Petropavlovsky does not even hope that the education reform may be dumped.

    Igor Pimenov, chairman of the board of the Latvian Association, told the Leta news agency that, irrespective of who holds the post of the education minister, the reform should be put off for two to three years.

    "The moratorium should best of all be imposed until 2007, when the education reform begins in Estonia," Pimenov said. And added that the moratorium is wanted to start a discussion of the goals and means of the reform.

    According to law, in September 2004 sixty percent of subjects in ethnic minorities' schools will be taught in Lettish.

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