From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
by Jüri Lõssenko of EITF
For entities in Latvia see Category:Latvia
Partners situated in Latvia
No partners are situated in Latvia.
Latvia in a nutshell
Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in Northern Europe in the Baltic region. It is bordered to the north by Estonia, to the south by Lithuania, and to the east both by Belarus and the Russian Federation. Across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden. The territory of Latvia covers 64,589 km² and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate.
The population of Latvia is 2.25 million.
The capital and largest city is Riga.
The Latvians are a Baltic people closely related to the Lithuanians, with the Latvian language sharing many similarities to Lithuanian. Today the Latvians and Lithuanians are the only surviving members of the Baltic peoples and Baltic languages of the Indo-European family. The modern name of Latvia is thought to originate from the ancient Latvian name Latvji, which may have originated from the word Latve which is a name of the river that presumably flowed through what is now eastern Latvia.
Latvia is a democratic parliamentary republic and is divided into 26 districts. Latvia has been a member of the United Nations since 17 September 1991, of the European Union since 1 May 2004 and of NATO since 29 March 2004.
Latvian education policy
Every citizen of the Republic of Latvia and every person who has the right to a non-citizen passport issued by the Republic of Latvia, every person who has received a permanent residence permit, as well as citizens of European Union memberstates who have been issued a temporary residence permit, and their children, have equal right to acquire education, regardless of their property or social status, race, nationality, gender, religious or political convictions, state of health, occupation or place of residence.
Governance of the Education System
Education system is administered at three levels - national, municipal and institutional. The Parliament (Saeima), the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Education and Science are the main decision-making bodies at a national level. The Ministry of Education and Science is the education policy-making institution that also issues the licenses for opening comprehensive education institutions and sets educational standards along with the teacher training content and procedures.
Latvian education system
The components of the educational system are pre-school education(pirmsskolas izglitiba), 9-year basic education (pamatizglitiba), upper secondary education (videja izglitiba) and higher education (augstaka izglitiba).
- Pre-school education (ISCED 0) is for children aged 5-7 years and is provided by general education establishments or kindergartens as part of compulsory 11 basic education. The objective is to foster general development of children and their readiness to enter the primary stage of basic education.
- Basic education (ISCED 1 and 2) comprises primary and lower secondary education and lasts for 9 years. It is compulsory for all children aged 7 and above. The National Basic Education Standard (Valsts pamatizglitibas standarts) determines the curriculum and the content of national examinations. Those who do not complete basic education by 16 should, according to Law, continue studying to complete the programme by the time they are 18. They can also choose VET programmes that allow them to obtain a first or second level professional qualification and to complete the obligatory basic educational programme.
- 3-year vocational basic education programmes are provided in vocational schools for students without a certificate of basic education (after completion of at least 7 grades of basic education, but they must be at least 15 years old). Upper secondary education (ISCED 3) comprises two types of programme: general secondary (vispareja videja izglitiba) and vocational secondary (profesionala videja izglitiba). In general secondary, there are 4 study fields: general; humanities and social sciences; mathematics, natural science and technical, and vocational (arts, music, business, and sports). The following subjects are obligatory for all programmes: Latvian; first foreign language; second foreign language (in minority population schools - the minority language); mathematics, history; sports; business foundations and computer science. Every programme includes obligatory and optional subjects relevant to the particular field of studies. To receive the Certificate of the secondary education (Atestats par visparejo videjo izglitibu), students should take not less than 5 examinations in compulsory or optional study subjects and no more than 4 tests in compulsory study subjects.
- Provision is regulated by the state which determines its level, form and target groups. It also defines the strategic goals and main tasks of each programme; its obligatory content, basic principles and assessment.
- Different vocational education programmes are developed and offered for all economic branches. The National Standard of vocational education (Valsts profesionalas izglitibas standarts) and the Occupational Standards (Profesiju standarti) determine the curriculum and content of vocational education programmes.
- 4-year vocational secondary education programmes are offered to students who have successfully completed compulsory basic education. Graduates receive a diploma of vocational secondary education and a Level 3 vocational qualification.
- 2-3 year vocational education programmes lead to a Certificate of secondary education and qualification level 3.
- Post secondary non-tertiary vocational education (ISCED 4) can be followed after graduating from general secondary schools. They are focused towards mastering purely professional skills and knowledge.
- Tertiary education (ISCED 5). While there is a difference between academic and vocational higher education, it is not institutionalised. Universities and other higher education institutions run both academic and vocational programmes.
Thematic Overview_2007.pdf (application/pdf Object)
Academic higher education programmes (ISCED 5A) lead to a Bachelor’s degree (Bakalaurs) and Master’s degree (Magistrs). The duration of Bachelor’s programmes may be 3 or 4 years. A Master’s degree is awarded after the second stage of academic education and requires at least 5 years of university studies.
- The Law of Higher Education Institutions (Augstakas izglitibas likums) and the Law of Vocational Education (Profesionalas izglitibas likums) stipulate a 2-level vocational higher education – the first level (2-3 years) leading to professional qualification Level 4 (ISCED 5B) and second level (ISCED 5B) leading to qualification level 5 (4-6 years). Having completed a programme, students are awarded with a professional qualification or a vocational Bachelor’s degree that can be followed by a further 1-2 years of vocational Master’s studies. The Master’s degree of higher vocational education is awarded if the total duration of studies is at least 5 years.
- There can also be short second level vocational higher education study programmes (1-2 years), where the qualification is obtained on the basis of the previously acquired first level vocational higher education or academic Bachelor’s degree. In total the duration of professional qualification Level 5 study programmes is not less than 4 years after secondary education and not less than 2 years after college education.
- Bachelor and Master degrees exist both in academic and vocational higher education. Bachelors of both categories have the right to enrol in master’s studies, masters of both categories (including also degrees in medicine and dentistry - 6 and 5 years of study respectively) - in doctoral studies.
- Postgraduate education (ISCED level 6). A Master’s degree or the equivalent is required for admission to doctoral studies (Ph.D.) which last 3-4 full-time years. They include advanced studies of the subject in a relevant study programme (or an equivalent amount of independent research while working at a university, research institution, etc.) and a scientific research towards doctoral thesis.
Access to higher (tertiary) education (HE). All holders of general secondary education certificates and diplomas on vocational secondary education meet the general admission requirements. However, the universities are free to set specific requirements, e.g. to choose which subjects have to been taken at school level to qualify for admission to a particular programme.
Bakalaurs (bachelor) and maģistrs (master) degrees are awarded both in academic and professional HE. Both types of bachelors are eligible for studies in master programmes and both types of masters (including holders of degrees in medicine and dentistry – 6 and 5 years respectively) – in doctoral programmes.
Academic higher education follows academic education standard and is aimed at preparing graduates for research and providing theoretical background for professional activities.
- Bakalaurs degree in a branch of science is awarded after the first cycle of academic studies. Bachelor programmes comprise 120 – 160 credit points (180-240 ECTS) or 4-6 semesters of full-time studies. They include: compulsory part ≥50 CP (75 ECTS), optional part ≥20 CP (30 ECTS), thesis ≥10 CP (15 ECTS) and some subjects of free choice to earn the rest of necessary CP.
- Maģistrs degree in a branch of science is awarded after the second cycle of academic studies comprising 80 (120 ECTS) credits, out of those thesis results in ≥20 CP, compulsory part includes theoretical aspects of the field (≥ 30 CP) and their practical application in solving actual problems (≥15 CP).
According to Standards of first and second level professional higher education, its aim is to provide in-depth knowledge in a field, enabling graduates to design and improve systems, products and technologies as well as to prepare graduates for creative, research and teaching activities in this field.
- Professional bakalaurs programmes are designed to ensure professional competence, they comprise at least 160 CP (240 ECTS), out of those: general courses (≥15 CP), theoretical courses of the field (≥36 CP), specialization courses (≥60 CP), optional courses (≥6 CP), practical placement (≥26 CP), and state examinations including thesis (≥12 CP).
- Professional HE programmes leading to maģistrs degree comprise no less than 40 CP (60 ECTS), out of those: up-to-date achievements in the field – in theory and in practice (≥7 CP), practical placements (≥6 CP), state examinations including thesis (≥20 CP) as well as research training, courses of design, management, psychology etc.
Apart from the programmes leading to bakalaurs and maģistrs degrees, there are other types of professional higher education programmes.
- First-level professional HE (college) programmes comprise 80-120 CP (120-180 ECTS) and lead to a CEDUC 4th level professional qualification. These programmes are targeted mainly at labour market. Yet, the graduates of the first-level programmes can continue their studies in second-level professional programmes.
- Second-level professional HE programmes lead to a CEDUC 5th level professional qualification. Such programmes can comprise either at least 40 CP (60 ECTS) for holders of bakalaurs degrees or at least 160 CP (240 ECTS) for secondary school leavers. In both cases programmes should include a practical placement of at least 26 CP (39 ECTS) and graduation examinations including thesis (≥10 CP). Graduates of programmes including the 70 CP (105 ECTS) compulsory part of the bakalaurs programme, have access to master studies.
- Doctoral studies. From January 1, 2000 onwards a single type of doctoral degree Doktors is being awarded in Latvia.
Maģistrs degree (or the equivalent) is required for admission to doctoral studies. Doktors degree can be achieved at public defence of a doctoral thesis which may be a result of three to four years of full-time doctoral studies at a university or an equivalent amount of independent research while working at a university, research institution etc.
Latvian Council of Science appoints promotion councils and sets the procedures for awarding doctoral degrees.
Credit point system. Latvian credit point is defined as a one-week full-time study workload. An average workload of a full-time study year in most HE programmes is 40 CP. Latvian credit point system is compatible with ECTS. The number of ECTS credits is found by multiplying the number of Latvian credit points by a factor of 1.5.
Grading system. The state standards for higher education set the following ten-point marking system:
| Achievement level
|| Approx. ECTS grade
|| izcili (with distinction)
|| teicami (excellent)
|| ļoti labi (very good)
|| labi (good)
|| gandrīz labi (almost good)
|| viduvēji (satisfactory)
|| gandrīz viduvēji (almost satisfactory)
|| negatīvs vērtējums (unsatisfactory)
State–recognized higher education institutions in Latvia
- University of Latvia
- Rīga Technical University
- Latvia University of Agriculture
- Daugavpils University
- Rīga Stradiņa University
State higher education institutions
- Latvian Academy of Arts
- Latvia Academy of Culture
- Latvian Academy of Music
- Liepāja Pedagogical Academy
- Latvian Academy of Sports Education
- Police Academy of Latvia
- Banking Institution of Higher Education
- Latvian Maritime Academy
- Latvian National Academy of Defence
- Rēzekne Higher Education Institution
- Rīga Graduate School of Law
- Rīga Higher School of Pedagogics and School Management
- Stockholm School of Economics in Rīga
- The Ventspils College
- Vidzeme College of Higher Education
Private higher education institutions
- Baltic Russian Institute
- Business Institute RIMPAK Livonia
- School of Business Administration Turība;
- Higher School of Economics and Culture
- Higher School of Psychology
- Higher School of Social Work and Social Pedagogy “Attīstība”
- Information Systems Institute
- Institute of Social Technologies
- International Institute of Practical Psychology
- Latvian Christian Academy
- Rīga Aeronautical Institute
- Rīga International School of Economics and Business Administration
- Transport and Telecommunication Institute
- RRC College
- Rīga civil Engineering college
- Jēkabpils Agribusiness college
- Latvian Culture College
- Liepāja Maritime College
- Olaine College of Mechanics and technology
- Rīga Civil Engineering College
- Rīga Technical College
- Rīga Entrepreneurship College
- Fire Protection and Civic Defence College
- State Boarder Guards’ College
- Alberta college
- College of Accounting and Finance
- Laws College
- Business and Administration College
More information on education system:
Higher education reform
Strategic guidelines for the development of education for years 2007 - 2013
Totally 57 millions Lats have been provided for the implementation of the strategic guidelines for the development of education of the Ministry of Education and Science. The following tasks are defined in the above strategic guidelines (listed in the sequence of priority):
- To introduce and pay for the pedagogic work of a teacher’s assistant for the purpose of providing support to children (Grades 1 – 6) with learning difficulties – 7.6922 Million Lats;
- To improve the social conditions of students at vocational educational establishments by means of increasing scholarships during years 2007 – 2010 up to 20 Lats per month on average, during years 2011 – 2013 up to 40 Lats per month, the total amount for year 2007 – 4.3611 Million;
- To develop the structure model for the distribution of study programs in compliance to the needs of agriculture and to ensure its implementation in the system of higher education (encouragement of the development of Doctor’s studies – at least 200 new places for Master studies per year, at least 100 new places for Doctor’s studies per year; the number of places for studies in the fields of natural sciences, engineering sciences, medicine and environment sciences increased by at least 300 per year. Provided increase of the scholarships fund by at least 5% per year) – 20 Million Lats.
- To ensure continuous attraction of the state investment for the purpose of arrangement and modernisation of educational establishments – 16.952 Million Lats.
General education reform
Since October 2009 the differentiated career structure model has been developed further as a new EU Structural Funds’ project “Promotion of competitive capacity of pedagogues in optimised education system”. By teachers’ professional quality evaluation it is expected to promote the development of professional competencies of and professional career opportunities for every teacher. Teachers’ responsibility over results of their pedagogical work will increase also due to revolving evaluation of their professional quality. As planned, the five categories will be linked with salaries after the development of the project, i.e. after 2012, most probably in 2013. As a result of the project there will be developed Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers defining the coordination of the salaries of pedagogues and the five categories. According to the project, after its completion in March 2012 the above mentioned system of teachers’ professional quality evaluation might be introduced at national level. The project website
The ongoing reforms (from 2005) regarding science and mathematics education are under implementation (ISCED 3) and under piloting (ISCED 2). Comprehensive reforms are realized by “Science and Math” project development unit in State Education Centre. Website of the project
Administration and finance
Tuition fee in education system
The tuition at pre-school, basic and secondary education in a state or municipality founded educational establishments is funded from the national or municipal budget. Private educational institutions may set a tuition fee for providing education. In higher education programmes the state covers tuition fees for a certain number of students’ places, according to the State Procurement in the respective academic year. Each higher education institution may set a tuition fee for the rest of students’ places. All students are entitled to a state credit for their studies in any higher education programme.
Foreigners or non-citizens pay for their education in accordance with the agreement concluded with the respective educational establishment. In cases when foreign citizens study in Latvia under an exchange programme and an equivalent number of Latvian students study abroad, the foreigners' studies in Latvia are financed from the budget resources of the Republic of Latvia allocated to the respective institution of higher education. The tuition fee for the citizens of European Union countries shall be determined and covered according to the same procedure as for the citizens and permanent residents of the Republic of Latvia.
Schools and post-secondary
According to Latvian legislation, state-recognized degrees/diplomas may be awarded upon completion of an accredited programme in an accredited HE institution holding a state-approved Satversme (by-law).
Quality assessment includes self-evaluation report by the higher education institution and peer evaluation. Evaluation teams consist of at least three experts, with only one from Latvia. In most cases the other two experts are selected from Western Europe or from the Baltic States.
Decisions on programme accreditation are taken by the Accreditation Board, while those on institutional accreditation – by the Higher Education Council. The first accreditation cycle was completed in 2001. Recurrent assessments have to take place once every six years.
Schools and post-secondary
The head of the educational institution is responsible for functioning of the institution and implementation of the normative acts concerning education. In Latvia quality evaluation of schools takes place during the accreditation process. According to The Education Law, all programmes provided by education institutions except interest-related education institutions (realization of the individual educational needs and desires of a person regardless of age and previously acquired education) have to be accredited. Accreditation should take place in a five years period after the launching of activities of education institution.
In 2005-2009 the General Education Quality Evaluation Agency was responsible body for accreditation of general education schools, education programmes, and certification of school heads. Accreditation of vocational education institutions and programmes was performed by the Vocational Education Administration. Since August 2009 after liquidating of these institutions and merging of the functions the State Education Quality Service is responsible body for organization of accreditation process. This institution monitors also the compliance of education processes with regulative framework.
Latvian information society
Figures as of 2010.
Fixed broadband coverage in Latvia stands only slightly lower than the EU average, although broadband coverage in rural areas with 67% remains an issue. Coverage remained stable in 2010, while broadband take up as a percentage of population went up to 19% compared with the EU average of 27%. Broadband connectivity showed the most significant improvement, reducing the gap with the EU average. A critical area in Latvia is low broadband take-up among businesses: Only 68% are connected. However, after no growth in 2009, this number grew by 5 percentage points in 2010. Wireless Internet is at an early stage of development.
Rates of Internet use and non-use in Latvia are close to the EU average. Take-up of Internet services is also relatively high. Participation in the more popular activities such as looking for information about goods and services is close to the EU average and for a number of other services even higher. In particular, Latvia records particularly higher than average numbers using the Internet for reading online newspapers (+15 percentage points), Internet banking (+10 percentage points), uploading self-created content (+14 percentage points), and doing online courses (+3 percentage points). In contrast, the use of eCommerce by individuals is underdeveloped and has remained stable below 20%.
Latvia has made substantial progress during last year in the provision of online services and now scores significantly above the average in both citizens services (at 89%) and businesses services (at 100%) online availability. The use of eGovernment has made also substantial improvements and now lies close to the EU average for both citizens (at 40%) and businesses (at 72%).
ICT in education initiatives
Schools and post-secondary
Rigas Talmacibas Vidusskola
Rigas Talmacibas Vidusskola (Riga Secondary School of Distance Education) is a private educational institution in operation since 2009. As of April 2012 RTV offers general (from year seven) and secondary education programmes with students from 22 different countries and covering an age group from 14 to 57 years. RTV programmes are all nationally accredited for six years.
As part of ESF Project „ Delivery of career education programmes in system of education” in 2007.-2008 a data base NIID.LV was established. NIID.LV provides e-consulting (responses to received questions) about opportunities of education, publications of interpretative materials about education FAQ and summaries of actual education related information. NIID.LV stores interactive career choice tests as well. In 2009 Project was started to connect NIID.LV with EU portal about educational opportunities in Europe PLOTEUS II.
eLearning portal www.eduspace.lv
The portal for eLearning materials was established to provide pupils, teachers and school administration with platform for placing, storage, classification, searching, of learning objects as well as to provide different tools that support teachers and school administration in day-to-day work. Initially the target audience of portal was pupils of 7th up to 12th grade (age 13-18). The portal consists of 3 parts:
- public web-site based on DRUPAL content management system which provides access to public learning objects, possibility to register in portal, possibility to connect to eLearning environment as well as repository of learning objects.
- eLearning environment based on open source eLearning system Moodle. The access to this system is allowed only for authenticated users that are registered in one of school management systems e-klase.lv or Mykoob.lv. The users of these two systems are pupils, teachers, school administration and parents.
- Repository of learning objects – user interface for repository of learning objects is accessible through portal thereby providing accessibility to open access materials for public users, for teachers thereby providing access publish learning materials, for teachers, pupils and school administration provides search and assessment of materials, as well as parents have a possibility to follow up pupils school results and access to materials if they are interested.
- Ministry of Education and Science
- http://www.aic.lv/bolona/Latvija/LV_%20Bol_en.pdf (PDF)
- BOLDIC – Latvia Report. Open and Distance Learning in Latvia, PDF - 20 pages
- Latvia - Factors and impacts in the information society
- Eurybase, The Information Database on Education Systems in Europe: The Education System in Latvia, 2009/10