Latvians transfer their children to distance learning in foreign schools

During the pandemic, many parents became interested in the opportunity to give their children distance education – including basic education – in schools in other countries. Russian-speaking families often take documents from Latvian schools. The new trend is reported by the Latvian Radio News Service.

First, Alla from Riga transferred her eldest daughter, at that time an eighth-grader, to one of the distance schools in Russia. The decision to change schools was made after the senior classes in Latvia switched to the Latvian language of instruction, and a requirement was introduced that the exam in the 9th grade must be taken in the state language.

“At some point I got to and saw the 9th grade mathematics exams. And I felt sick. Really. If you look for yourself, you will understand how … elementary they are. After that, I went to Russian portals and looked at what state examinations in mathematics are in Russia. And I realized that I had no choice. Because my daughter was going to enter a technical university, and with such mathematics her chances of going to a good university would be zero, ”Alla explains why she began to look for other educational options.

According to her, while studying in the Russian 9th grade, her daughter had to greatly improve her academic performance. But then she successfully passed the exams in the 9th and 11th grades (this should have been done in person in Moscow), and now she is already studying at a university in the Netherlands. In turn, last winter, when the holidays were once again extended, Alla transferred her youngest daughter to a Russian distance school, now she is a fourth-grader. She decided: if a child is still learning remotely, then let it be better in a Russian school.

“Of course! Then let her sit better and listen to a thoughtful program, well recorded and in her native language. Plus to this – Russia is a big country, distance schools there are large organizations that can afford to choose teachers, select the best. Not just someone who reaches retirement age and already hates these children. No. The best teachers really work there, many of them have the “Best Teacher of the Year” award, ”she says.

Parents interested in distance education create groups on social networks, where they willingly share their experiences. Including in the correspondence with the Latvian radio. But most moms still chose to remain anonymous.

“I will be happy to talk to you. But it would be more convenient for me to communicate here. Better anonymously, since I have many acquaintances for teaching children in Latvian and I would not want to spoil my relationship with them, ”wrote one mother with many children.

The decision to transfer all three children – the daughter of a first-grader and twins – fifth-graders – to distance learning at a Russian school was not easy for her. The reason was the pressure and mockery of teachers about the fact that the children do not speak Latvian enough.

“The youngest began to hysteria in the morning. The eldest came home from school in tears. Before school, my son felt bad: he vomited. At first I didn’t let him go to school, I thought it was a virus. But the “virus” did not pass. As a result, in November 2020, I had three deeply unhappy children. I wanted to help, but I didn’t know how. If you continue in the same spirit, then all three will have psychological trauma and serious health problems. It was necessary to change something, ”the woman recalls.

Schools abroad offer two types of distance learning. One is additional classes, courses that are relatively cheap. Or a more expensive option is to attach the child to a specific school in Russia. In this case, the parents must, without fail, pick up the documents from the Latvian school.

Our education law allows it. Basic education is compulsory, but parents are free to choose their own school. “To expel a child from a Latvian school, there must be documents stating that he is transferring to another school. This time. In addition, if a student does not attend school in the territory of Latvia, then representatives of the self-government, including the Orphan’s Court, may ask what happened to the child. But if they receive reliable confirmation that the child is really learning, then there will be no problems, ”explains Yanis Mikhailov, Deputy Director of the Department of Registers and Licensing of the State Service for the Quality of Education.

For example, the Welfare Department of the Riga City Council is not aware of a single case when a child would come to the attention of the social service or the Orphan’s Court due to distance learning at a foreign school. According to the generalized data of the State Service for the Quality of Education, there are now 40 children living in Latvia at the age when studying at school is compulsory, who study remotely in schools of other countries. More than half are enrolled in schools in Russia, as well as in the USA, Great Britain, Belarus, Ukraine and Estonia. There will be new data at the end of this year. Yanis Mikhailov predicts that more people will switch to distance learning abroad.

“In general, not only in Latvia, but all over the world, there is a growing interest in distance learning. The first thing that could be advised: you need to weigh very well whether the child is generally capable of learning remotely. Not every student can really do this, ”he notes.

And further. Experts advise parents to carefully check the legal status of the school. Last year, there were two cases when students from Latvia were transferred to educational institutions that did not have accreditation even in their country of origin (one of them was Russia). It is good that in both cases everything was quickly cleared up and the children were able to return to their old schools without much delay and continue their studies in Latvia.

Earlier, Minister of Education and Science Anita Muizniece explained the difference between distance and distance learning. In short, the essence is as follows: distance learning is carried out by schools that have appropriate special programs, and when studying in a family, the child remains assigned to a regular school, she monitors how he progresses through the program, but the main responsibility for the result falls on parents.

According to the State Service for the Quality of Education, a total of 100 distance learning programs in 39 educational institutions have been licensed in Latvia, and the number of students in them in the country has grown significantly over several years.

Source: GOROD.LV – новости Даугавпилса by

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