The Ministry of Education and Scienceis the central executive institution for education in Latvia, under the overall direction of Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers and within the framework of Latvia’s Constitution - Satversme - and laws.
Public pre-school institutions and schools providing general education (integrated primary and lower-secondary education and upper-secondary education) are the responsibility of municipalities and subject of supervision by the Ministry of Education and Science. Central government is directly responsible for most public special schools (e.g., for children with special needs) and most public vocational and secondary vocational schools. Higher education institutions have substantial autonomy in governance.
The Parliament Saeima has legislative power and the right to take decisions concerning the national budget. Saeima delegates concrete competence to other institutions, which participate in administration of the education system.
Cabinet of Ministers holds executive power. All administrative institutions of the State are under the authority of the Cabinet.
The Cabinet of Ministers:
- determines the forms of state recognized documents on education, the criteria and the order of their dispensation;
- determines the order how the state finances the private education establishments;
- determines the order of study loans;
- determines the order for accounting children who have reached compulsory school age;
- affirms the constitutions of higher education institutions (except university type);
- founds state education institutions and education support institutions;
- determines the order of the registration and the accreditation of education institutions;
- determines the order of the school head attestation in state and municipality schools;
- determines the order and rules of the accreditation of higher educational institutions;
- determines the order of the licensing and the accreditation of educational programmes;
- approves the list of professions and posts for pedagogues;
- approves requirements (in conformity with professions) for necessary education and professional qualification for pedagogues;
- determines the order how the state organizes and finances publishing and purchasing of textbooks;
- determines the payment for pedagogues;
- determines the order of financing educational institutions, classes and boarding schools for people with special needs;
- determines the state unitary policy and strategy on education and presents the conception on development of education for the coming four years to parliament (for approval);
- determines national standards of education;
- determines the minimum of expenses for implementing education programmes for one pupil;
- determines the order how pupils are provided with preventive health care, first aid and security in the institution and its organized activities;
- determines the work load of pedagogues;
- determines the order of scholarship administration;
- determines the order of financing informal education;
- determines the order of organizing camps for children.
Ministry of Education and Science consists of six departments and three separate units, part of them responsible for definite spheres of education:
Department of Policy Initiatives and Development, Education Department, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Department, Sports and Youth Department, Department of Structural Funds and International Financial Instruments, Department of Provision and Finance, Communication and Document Management Division, Internal Audit Division and Human Resource Management Division.
The Ministry of Education and Science:
- implements the state’s unitary policy and strategy of education;
- develops drafts of regulatory enactments on education;
- establishes the registers of educational establishments, educational programmes and pedagogues;
- manages the licensing of educational programmes;
- manages the accreditation of educational programmes and institutions;
- organizes further education for pedagogues;
- develops state’s standards in education;
- elaborates suggestions and submits the request for allocation of the state’s budget to education, science, sport and activities of youth;
- controls the legitimate use of funds from state’s budget in the supervised institutions;
- co-ordinates cooperation between state’s educational institutions and other countries, and international organizations;
- develops precepts for educational programmes according to educational standards (except for higher education);
- develops exemplary regulations for educational and educational support institutions;
- fixes state’s order for developing and publishing textbooks;
- determines and co-ordinates the acquirement of education for pedagogues;
- organizes assessment of professional qualifications for pedagogues and school heads;
- determines the order of state’s examinations;
- develops and implements actions for improvement of teaching process;
- approves the regulations of colleges, state’s educational and educational support institutions;
- employs directors of supervised institutions of the Ministry (except higher educational institutions);
- suggests the dismissal of school heads in schools belonging to municipalities.
The following institutions are subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science: State Education Development Agency, National Centre for Education, State Service of Education Quality, State Agency Latvian Language Agency, Higher Education Quality Evaluation Centre, Academic Information Centre, Agency for International Programmes for Youth.
Other Ministries are competent to suggest the establishment, reorganization or liquidation of educational organizations. Ministries develop the content and standards for professional subjects and control the implementation of the standards in the supervised institutions. Ministries also control financial operations in the institutions they are obligated to supervise. However, the role of other ministries decreases, as transfer of education institutions under subordination of the Ministry of Education and Science is ongoing.
Consultations between various levels of education are followed out in the sittings of departments in the Ministry of Education and Science. Policy Coordination Department of the Ministry develops conceptions, plans strategically on issues of education, analyses information and provides coordination between regulations of various levels of education.
An important role in consultation of educational policy making also plays such state institutions as:
- National Centre for Education - works with development and improvement of the Curriculum and National Examination system.
- Council of Higher Education - influences policy on higher education. The Saeima confirms the Council of Higher Education of twelve members following the proposal of Minister of Education and Science. The delegates represent leaders of educational institutions, educational associations, Latvian Academy of Sciences, employers, and a trade union of employees of education and science. The Council works out the national concept for the development of higher education and higher educational establishments, envisaging the development of both state-founded higher educational establishments and of those founded by legal entities, as well as promotes equal and harmonized development of all kinds of higher educational establishments and of higher academic education and of higher professional education; works out long term plans and proposals for development of education and research within the system of higher education; works out proposals to raise the quality of the research activities of higher educational establishments, the qualifications of the staff and of the study programmes; forecasts the number of students necessary for development of the state in general and works out proposals regarding the number of students financed from the state budget in each branch.
The Ministry of Education and Science involves also non-governmental organisations in the work groups in the course of development of regulatory acts and policy planning documents.
Trade union of employees of education and science of Latvia unites employees from the field of education. Aims of the trade union are not only protection of rights of teaching staff, but also - advantage development of education and science in Latvia.