Yakov Pliner, a member of the Riga city council on behalf of the Latvian Russian Union, a doctor of pedagogy, is talking on the situation with kindergartens in Riga.
According to the official answer to the request for information submitted by LRU elected members to the city council, there are 147 municipal kindergartens in Riga, out of which 73 are Latvian, 28 Russian and 46 are bilingual. There are 862 groups with Latvian language and 520 with Russian language. In what concerns the queues, as of 1 September, 2538 children were still on the waiting lists, out of whom 686 would like to be enrolled to Russian-language kindergartens and 1852 to kindergartens with the Latvian language.
According to Yakov Pliner, ”queueing to get enrolled is the most acute headache for many preschoolers’ parents. As waiting period to Russian-language groups is shorter than to Latvian-language ones, officials of Riga municipality have decided to use this pretext to transfer some of the Russian-language groups to Latvian-language ones”. Riga city council members on behalf of the Latvian Russian Union have not agreed to this decision. Yakov Pliner states, ”We have found another way out of the problem without reducing the number of Russian-language groups”.
Yakov Pliner voices the following proposal for the solution of the problem with kindergartens shortage, ”We studied the issue and it turned out that there are, at least, several schools in Riga which premises are not used wisely. Some of the premises are not used at all. Or in some cases a school building is too large while there is a tendency observed to sharply decrease the number of students in this particular school. We have compiled a list of such schools and sent our proposal to the Department of Education to consider the possibility of opening preschool groups there. The department promised to offer this issue for consideration by the Riga Educational Institutions Optimization Commission. It is also planned to open two new kindergartens in Riga in the coming year”.