Developments in 2007-2013
A large number of tasks set by the Guidelines for Lifelong Learning Development from 2007 to 2013 have been implemented, among them:
- Regulations No. 146 passed by the Cabinet of Ministers 22 February 2011 On the procedure of the assessment of professional competences gained outside formal education stipulate the order for granting professional qualification to a person who has acquired professional competences corresponding to the National Qualification Framework levels from one to three outside formal education.
- Regulations No 36 passed by the Cabinet of Ministers 10 January 2012 On the recognition of study results obtained in prior learning or professional experience which stipulate the possibility for a higher educational institution to assess a person’s study results obtained in prior learning or through experience, if they correspond to the requirements set for the study programme granting the respective credit points for the achievement.
Taking into account financial limitations for the support of adult education 30 May 2012 Ministry of Education and Science applied for a European Commission grant for the Implementation of European Agenda for Adult Education. National project proposal was approved with a total financing of EUR 136 000. From 1 October 2012 to 31 March 2014 the Ministry of Education and Science implemented a lifelong learning project Implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning (project No 374632-LLP-1-2012-1-LV-GRUNDTVIG-AL_AGENDA). The goal of the project was to inform broad public on the opportunities offered by European and national adult education policy. Project activities were targeted towards informing all decision making process stakeholders to improve adult education and foster cooperation.
According to recommendations and good practice examples of the project Implementation of European Agenda for Adult Education a new governance model of adult learning was developed; it provides for cooperation of all relevant stakeholders active in the field of adult learning. The new governance model for adult education was incorporated in the Guidelines for Education Development 2014 - 2020 and provides for liaison of national ministries involved in adult education policy-making. The new governance model allows bringing together different stakeholders of adult learning policy and taking care of the specific needs of local governments by activating their role in matching supply and demand of adult learning.
In 2009, the Ministry of Welfare introduced new preventive measure for reducing unemployment – an education voucher system, which is a most democratic approach enabling adults to improve knowledge, skills, competences and fostering their autonomy in letting them choose their own education programme and educational institution. The programme was offered by the State Employment Agency and was still ongoing in 2015.
A consistent financial support to Latvian language acquisition programmes has been ensured from the state. Since 1996 the Latvian Language Agency has been providing free Latvian language courses to different target groups such as teachers, kindergarten teachers, policemen, medical personnel, the unemployed and migrants. Since 2006 the Latvian Language Agency has been offering language courses to pupils’ parents.
Current policy measures
The main aim of the 2015 project National Coordinators for the Implementation of the European Agenda in Adult Education (Grant agreement No 2014-2866/001-001), is to ensure development of adult education policy, its management and implementation according to the priorities of the Guidelines for Education Development 2014 - 2020 and European Agenda of Adult Learning. To reach the aim the project needs to achieve the following objectives:
- Encourage and strengthen cooperation between stakeholders of all levels involved in implementing adult learning and create aspects and mechanisms of cooperation of stakeholders, to put into practice the new system model of adult education incorporated in the Guidelines for Education Development for 2014-2020.
- Provide regular information exchange between all relevant stakeholders and the connection with the EPALE platform by developing a website on adult learning to ensure information on actual issues in adult education, adult learning activities at national, regional, local and also international level and maintain sustainability of project results.
- Raise awareness and attractiveness of adult learning and disseminate information on learning opportunities, ensure guidance for risk group adults by organising activities at local and regional level.
The main target groups for project implementation are all relevant stakeholders active in the field - national ministries involved in the implementation of the adult learning policy:
- Ministry of Education and Science,
- Ministry of Welfare and
- Ministry of Economics;
- NGOs and social partners in the field of adult education: Latvian Adult Education Association,
- Employers’ Confederation of Latvia,
- Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; representatives of regions; institutions and experts of local governments, providers of adult learning.
In the year 2015 Ministry of Education and Science is also working towards the implementation of the priorities set in the Guidelines for Education Development which stipulate the following priorities in adult education:
- upgrading of professional qualifications,
- professional further education,
- development of basic skills,
- validation of non-formal education,
- provision for additional certification,
- provision for quality in adult education.
Cooperation among all stakeholders will be promoted by the recently established Interinstitutional Coordinating Council.
Many support measures to adult education are financed by European structural funds. The aim of these support measures is to upgrade and improve individual knowledge, skills and competences.
Some adults, who belong to certain professions, e.g., teachers have their professional duty to continue their education and training during their professional careers in accordance with the Cabinet of Ministers Regulations On the required academic and professional qualifications of pedagogues and the procedure for professional competence development (2014) (Noteikumi par pedagogiem nepieciešamo izglītību un profesionālo kvalifikāciju un pedagogu profesionālās kompetences pilnveides kārtību).
Adult education policy as part of lifelong learning is enforced by the following legislation acts:
Education Law (1998),
General Education Law (1999),
Vocational Education Law (1999),
Law on Institutions of Higher Education (1996),
On the Regulated Professions and the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2001),
Support for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment Law (2002),
the Law On Craftsmanship (2008).
According to the Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers Procedure for the Evaluation of Vocational Competence Acquired Outside Formal Education System (2011), assessment of vocational competencies acquired outside formal education system is coordinated by the State Education Quality Service. Vocational competencies are assessed through vocational qualification examinations.