Administration and governance at local level
Municipality is obligated to provide children residing in its territory with the possibility to acquire pre-school education and pamatizglītība (integrated primary and lower secondary education) at the education institution, which is closest to the place of the residence. Municipalities are also obligated to provide youth with the opportunity to acquire upper-secondary education, as well to provide possibilities to realize informal education, support extracurricular work and camps for children. Pupils have freedom to choose the school in another municipality apart from the one they live in. In these situations municipalities enter into the contract to make financial contribution for maintenance of educational institution that a pupil attends.
Municipal administration of education is organized through the Education Boards of Municipalities. Municipalities establish and finance these Boards, appoint the head in co-ordination with Ministry of Education and Science (MoES). Among the responsibilities of education boards are to assist schools by providing teaching and methodological materials, organize education for adults, ensure possibilities for teachers to improve qualification. The most important functions are to implement the local educational policy and allocate funds from the state budget to schools for salaries of pedagogical staff.
Implementation of the Administrative Territorial Reform has an impact on educational governance and administration. Each amalgamated local municipality has the Education Board or a municipal specialist responsible for education and, when the number of the amalgamated local municipalities grows, a new coordination and cooperation between the Boards or education specialists and the Ministry of Education and Science is required, as well as a new subsidy’s distribution system. The Ministry has developed “the money follows the pupil” subsidization principle implemented since the school year 2009/2010.
- establish, reorganize and close pre-school institutions, basic, secondary and vocational schools, in co-ordination with MoES;
- provide children who have reached compulsory school age and reside in its administrative territory with places in pre-primary, basic and secondary schools;
- are responsible for boarding schools, special education facilities, orphanages, vocational and professional educational institutions, extracurricular centers, except national or privately owned institutions.
- organize adult education, vocational guidance for children and youth, further education of teachers; coordinate the methodical work of teachers and questions on children protection in the area of education;
- develop and maintain the database of information on education;
- financially supports educational institutions under their supervision;
- employ and dismiss the heads of institutions under their supervision, in co-ordination with MoES;
- establish the procedure for financing education institutions under their supervision from the budget of municipalities; in accordance with mutual agreements, participate in the financing of state education institutions, education institutions of other municipalities and private education institutions; distribute and allocate the financial means from the budget of the municipality to education institutions and control the rationality of expenditure;
- maintain the facilities of the schools under their supervision;
- guarantee the transfer of funds allocated from the state budget for teachers’ salaries, the transfer of target grants and the state subsidies into the accounts of schools;
- provide financing for non-teaching staff of the schools;
- provide first aid and health preventive care for pupils;
- provide transportation to and from school if it is not possible to use public transportation.
According to the Law On Local Governments, local governments have the right to receive information from State institutions. Also, for the purposes of consultation, on the basis of an initiative of an inhabitant of the local government, the city or municipality council or the chairperson, and based upon a city or municipality council decision, there may be organised public discussions regarding local government autonomous competence issues, including education issues.
Parents are involved in the educational policy making of the school through the Board of school or non-governmental organizations representing views of parents. In some municipalities, parents have united with NGOs to devote their time to children and foster their well-being in the community and at regional and national level. Among the main aims of parent organisations is learning and setting an example of social and moral responsibility (e.g. through monitoring children’s safety on the streets and in public places). However more often parental involvement in the school’s activities is limited to attendance of parent gatherings and occasional financial support.
Administration and governance at institutional level
The head employed by the founder of pre-school institution runs the institution. The head hires the teaching and non-teaching staff, manages the financial resources, and ensures the implementation of regulatory enactments concerning education.
In every institution there may exist a board of a pre-school institution consisting of the head, the founder of the institution, representatives of pedagogues, parents, municipality, sponsors and primary school. The board of pre-school institution analyzes educational work, cooperates with the education institutions providing primary education and reviews suggestions of parents.
A school is independent in developing and implementing education programs, staff hiring and school management. In particular, the school head (who is employed by the founder) hires the teaching and non-teaching staff, manages the financial resources, ensures the implementation of the regulatory enactments concerning education. The school head may hire deputy directors, who ensure qualitative organization of educating process.
The board of the school, which may consist of the school head, the founder of the institution, representatives of pedagogues, municipality, parents and pupils, also fulfils some administrative duties. The board of the school has a consultative function in the drafting of the school development plan; it works with organizing school social life activities; manages accounting of received donations, decides on the use of these funds.
View exchange on education issues is also in meetings and seminars for directors of regional school boards, schools' heads and teachers.
Pedagogues in the regions and cities of Latvia form the methodical associations of certain subjects. They discuss development of educational programmes, teaching methods and objectives; work on unitary content of those state exams that are not yet centralized.
The Education Law states that pupils have the right to make proposals for the creation of self-governing bodies (i.e. pupil councils or pupil parliaments) at an education institution and to participate in its work . The school accreditation programme requires establishment of a pupil council. Normally, representatives of pupils from pamatskola and vidusskola are elected to the pupils' council. The levels of involvement of these councils in decision-making inside and/or outside the school differ in each school. Many pupil councils have established collegial partnerships with their school head and school administration. Councils exist not only at school level but also at community and regional level in order to cooperate and develop joint projects.
According to the General Education Law, a council of the education institution should exist in every school. The council may consist of representatives of teachers, the local authority, parents and pupils from all education levels. The head of the education institution and the founder of the institution may participate, too. In the council, parent representatives have to be in majority, and the head of the council has to be a parent representative. The council of the education institution has an advisory status, but it usually also assumes certain decision-making functions.
Most vocational education institutions are governed by the State. The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for most of these. Others are under responsibility of the Ministries of Culture, Welfare and the Interior. There are also vocational education schools established (or taken over from the State) by local government and private ones.
As a reaction to the negative demographic trend that decreases numbers of vocational education students, and to limited financial resources, the Ministry of Education and Science designed guidelines to optimise the VET institutions' network in 2010-15. In 2014, there were 34 vocational education schools under responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science. The guidelines endorse further structural reforms to reduce numbers of vocational schools to 30 by 2015 and modernise the network by clearly defining school type and jurisdiction and, if necessary, by merging schools (Vocational education and training in Latvia, 2015).
The Education Law states independence of an education institution in the development and implementation of educational programmes, selection of employees, financial, economic and other activities in accordance with the Law, other laws and regulatory enactments and the by-laws or constitution of educational institution.
A head of an educational institution is responsible for the operation of the educational institution and rational use of intellectual, financial and material resources. The head of an educational institution has to specify remuneration for the employees of the educational institution which cannot be lower than the work remuneration specified by the Cabinet of Ministers. A self-governing body of an educational institution has to be created as a collegial institution. According to the Vocational Education Law, vocational education institution has the right to independently perform economic and other kinds of activities if such does not interfere with the implementation of education programmes.
A higher education institution is autonomous in regard to organizational procedure, implementation of the study process, internal rules and regulations, hiring and discharge of academic and technical personnel and distribution of allocated funding. Main administration units that represent and manage the work of the higher educational establishment – Constitutional (Satversme) Meeting, Senate and the Rector - are elected in the order determined in the constitution of the higher educational institution. The Cabinet of Ministers confirms rectors of higher educational institutions, the highest official in a higher education establishment implementing the general administrative management and representing the establishment without any special authorization.
For the development of higher education the Rectors’ Council has been established. The Council coordinates educational activities in higher education institutions, promotes an active exchange of ideas and develops proposals for legislation on issues concerning higher education.
Students of higher educational institutions have their own Council of Students. It functions according to guidelines set and approved by the Senate of the institution. Councils of Students usually have an important role in deciding on various issues concerning academic life in a higher educational institution. In order to represent the rights and interests of students at national and international level, most Student Councils have joined Student Union of Latvia.
If education programmes for adults are provided by the general, vocational or higher education institutions, administration and governance of such education institutions at institutional level is regulated in the same way as for general and vocational schools and higher education institutions.
There are no imposed formal requirements for the starting and conducting the non-formal education process. Administration and governance of institutions providing non-formal education programmes for adults depends on the type of an institution.