National meeting in Latvia “Sufficient legal provision – poor implementation”

National meeting of all the stakeholders, involved in migrant education processes, policies and research was held in Riga, September 3, gathering 23 participants’ altogether. It was held in order to review policy implementation for almost 5 years, since March 2010, when amendment to Education Law, which has entitled all the children (newcomers from the third countries, refugees and asylees, reemigrees) to receive mandatory basic education (till 9th grade). During diverse presentations (policy implementation analysis, recent statistics and research results, migrant student experience, media discourse and teachers’ attitudes) and productive discussion, involving policy makers and implementers and moderated by policy analyst Maria Golubeva, conclusions and policy implications have been elaborated. They have been collected in Immigrant education Charter to be presented to Minister of Education in nearest month.

Charter contains measures to be implemented both by Ministry of Education and schools; to name a few: mother tongue support for newcomers, introduction of customized official language exams, financial support for bilingual teacher assistants, introduction and monitoring of explicit anti – discrimination policies in education system and in every school. The most urgent and critical issue identified is the lack of basic intercultural competences among teachers – this has to be solved in nearest future. It is worth to mention, that discussion was held bilingually – in Latvian and Russian, and that the ethnic composition of participants – persons with Russian, Afghani, and Tatar among them – reflected actual multiculturalism of Latvia.