RIGA, Nov 8 (Xinhua) -- An online petition supporting bilingual education in Latvia's ethnic minority schools has gathered 10,000 signatures in less than two weeks.
This means that the initiative has gained sufficient public support to be reviewed in parliament.
Activist Deniss Barteckis launched the petition on Latvia's public initiatives website Manabalss.lv after the Baltic country's center-right government coalition decided in October that in three years' time, all core academic subjects in Latvia's public high schools will be taught only in the Latvian language.
"If Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis' plans are carried out we risk causing irreparable harm to education quality, to our children's education, to our children," Barteckis warned.
The author of the petition feels that the planned language reform in Latvia's minority schools will make learning more difficult for the students who will be left in the disadvantage in comparison with their ethnic Latvian peers.
"Learning the basics of sciences like chemistry or physics in a non-native language is much harder," Barteckis argues.
The activist also slammed the Latvian education minister for not presenting a clear and comprehensible plan for the reform's implementation and noted that language issues are always raised in Latvia ahead of nearing elections.
Barteckis' petition, however, is not the only public initiative that has been launched in response to the planned transition to Latvian in ethnic minority schools.
A petition calling for a new law on ethnic minorities' education that would allow choosing the language of education in Latvia's public schools freely has also been posted on Manabalss.lv, and supporters of the reform are gathering signatures under a petition "for eradication of bilingual education".