Latviaâs Ministry of Education plans to introduce one of the EUâs official languages as a second foreign language in all schools as of the 2026-2027 academic year. This means that Russian would no longer be taught in Latvian schools.
Under the new rules, Latvian schools would also be able to teach languages covered by separate intergovernmental agreements.
According to Latvian public broadcaster LSM, the ministry believes that such changes will increase the integration of the countryâs youth into European education and open up more job opportunities in the EU.
Lithuania also considers introducing similar measures, but it would take more than four years to implement, stressed Dainoras Lukas, a representative of the Lithuanian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
âThe Latviansâ intention to achieve this in four years is very optimistic. The issue of a shortage of German, French, or other EU language teachers exists both in Latvia and in Lithuania,â Lukas said.
âWeâre also looking at this issue, but we think that the transition period should be longer,â he added.
Alongside possible new rules of language teaching, young people should also be encouraged to choose language studies, according to Lukas.
âThis change is primarily related to the number of German and French teachers. We will try to encourage more students to study these languages,â he said.
Currently, there are no national guidelines on which foreign languages can be taught in schools in Latvia, which means that each educational institution decides individually which language classes to offer.
A survey conducted in 2021 found that almost half of Latvian schools have no other choice of a second foreign language except for Russian.
At the end of September, the Latvian parliament also voted in favour of the amendments that require all state schools and kindergartens in the country to transition to education only in Latvian by 2025.
Until now, members of the Russian minority in Latvia could attend special schools where certain subjects could be taught in Russian.
The Russian minority makes up about a third of the Latvian population.
In Lithuania, 67.9 percent of high school students choose Russian as their second foreign language.