RIGA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs has come up with a new bilingual education proposal for the Latvian capital city's ethnic minority schools, offering to provide additional classes of various subjects in students' native language, local media reported Friday.
Riga authorities proposed the idea in response to the Latvian central government's plan to make Latvian almost the only language of instruction in all public high schools, including ethnic minority schools, in three years' time.
Usakovs announced the bilingual education proposal during his meeting with Latvian Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis on Thursday, saying that the goal was to ensure that students at Riga's ethnic minority schools master both their native language and Latvian, as well as all other subjects taught at high school.
The program will provide an opportunity for ethnic minority students to take lessons of particular subjects in their native language after they have been taught them in Latvian, the Riga mayor explained.
"To ensure quality education and proficiency of the Latvian language for students in Riga, and to protect minority rights, we will offer the new program as of 2019," Usakovs said, promising to finance the program from the Latvian capital city's budget.
Citing preliminary estimates, the Riga mayor said the plan could cost the municipal budget around 2 million euros (2.39 million U.S. dollars) annually.
Commenting the Riga local authority's proposal, Sadurskis told reporters that Usakovs was asked to describe his plan in greater detail in written form so that the ministry could analyze it.
The minister said that most important requirement is a fair and proportional distribution of public financing among all schools regardless of the language of instruction.
In October, the Latvian government decided that in three years' time, all core academic subjects in Latvia's public high schools will be taught only in the Latvian language. However, students at Latvia's ethnic minority schools will still be able to learn culture-related subjects, literature and history in their native language. Enditem