"State exams are taken in the state language, and children are capable of reading, understanding, answering and passing. It seems to me that we don’t need to enforce something that is unnecessary. Teachers have good training and are capable of preparing children for state exams," Tamašunienė told BNS Lithuania on Tuesday.
"The key thing is the result, and the results are good. Children enroll and find jobs. I don’t understand who we've come back to the Lithuanian language issue," she added.
Her comments came in response to an initiative by three members of the parliamentary opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats' (TS-LKD) political group to introduce a requirement that at least 60 percent of the education program at lower secondary and secondary schools should be delivered in the Lithuanian language, with the remaining part taught in ethnic minority languages.
Saulė Vingelienė, director of the National Examination Center, told BNS Lithuania that examinations tasks are provided to pupils from ethnic minority schools in the state Lithuanian language but they can give answers in their native language. Moreover, specific terms are translated into Polish or Russian.
Tamašunienė believes the TS-LKD proposal would be a step back in terms of the rights of ethnic minorities, adding that it's often stressed across the EU that the rights, culture and language of ethnic minorities should be respected and promoted.
Official figures from the Statistics Lithuania show that 14,679 children attended Russian-language schools in Lithuania in 2017-2018, and 11,209 attended Polish schools and 203 children received education in the Belarusian language.