"This means that concessions will be made in the assessment of their achievements. The transitional period might continue until current 1st-graders finish school," the Ministry of Education and Science said on Tuesday.
The minister noted that a task force had been set up for the implementation of the new Education Law, which includes specialists from the ministry and municipalities, as well as representatives delegated by national minority schools, i.e., parents and teachers.
"The ministry is cooperating with schools and sees certain difficulties arising by insufficient command of the Lithuanian language by teachers for them to be able to teach chapters of history and geography about Lithuania in the Lithuanian language. Consequently, more attention and support will go towards training of teachers," reads the press release.
Steponavičius emphasized that implementation of the law would take time.
"It is a process that gives us new ideas and experiences by helping us to see progress and gaps that need to be filled," he added.
This was the minister's second meeting with the commissioner over education of national minorities.
Nearly a year ago, Lithuania's parliament passed a new version of the Education Law , which, among other things, stipulates a new teaching scheme of the Lithuanian language in minority schools – teaching of more subjects in Lithuanian and unifying the tasks of the graduation exam of the Lithuanian language as of 2013.
Nevertheless, the Polish minority demands that the earlier scheme is returned.
Lithuania's government maintains that the new model is among then most moderate in Europe, noting that other countries, including Poland, have enforced analogous provisions years ago.
According to data provided by the Education Ministry, there are 56 schools teaching in the Polish language in Lithuania this year, 36 schools teaching in Russian and one school teaching in the Belorussian language in addition to 42 schools with different teaching languages this academic year. Some 15,552 students are studying in Russian, 12,895 in Polish and 181 in Belorussian.