On Thursday, 2 July, the Saeima adopted in the final reading the Law on International Schools, ensuring that children of persons employed in foreign and international organisations have access to general education, thus promoting international cooperation on educational matters.
In 2018, amendments were introduced to the Education Law regarding the language of instruction in general education programmes. According to the explanatory note to the Draft Law, International schools need a separate regulatory framework setting out operation conditions suited for these schools.
The new Law defines the legal framework for the establishment and operation of educational establishments whose main field of activity is ensuring internationally recognised general education programmes, as pointed out in the explanatory note to the Draft Law.
The framework will ensure that general education is accessible to the children (relatives) of persons employed and serving in foreign and international organisations, in particular, European Union (EU) institutions, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bodies, and the armed forces of EU Member States.
“The offer of international schools and international education is essential for successful international cooperation in Latvia, and the proposed regulation of international schools will contribute to ensuring that their students are as integrated in Latvia as possible by including the acquisition of the Latvian language, history, and culture in the curricula. Students will have the opportunity to receive education in one of the official languages of NATO and EU Member States while also learning about the culture and traditions of Latvia, thereby strengthening their sense of belonging and opportunity to adapt to this environment. Viewing the proposed Law in conjunction with changes made to the Education Law and the transition to Latvian as the language of instruction in all education institutions, this Draft Law is a logical necessity,” emphasised Rihards Kols, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which is responsible for advancing the Draft Law in the Saeima.
In Latvia, the first private educational institution that can be designated as an "international school” was established in 1992. At the moment, such education opportunities are provided by six private institutions. The authors of the Draft Law note that, as the volume of international cooperation in Latvia gradually increases along with the number of representative offices of foreign companies and international organisations, the demand for the opportunity to obtain general education in foreign languages has also grown. Currently, all the aforementioned educational institutions also offer licensed Latvian general education programmes, including pre-school education programmes, states the explanatory note to the Draft Law.
Saeima Press Service