Education has been named as the central priority since regaining independence. Human capital is an important asset of Latvia as a member state of the European Union and to compete in the global economy.
The Constitution, Satversme, prescribes that everyone has the right to education. The State has to ensure that everyone may acquire pamatizglītība (single structure primary and lower-secondary) education without charge. Integrated primary and lower-secondary education is defined by the constitution to be compulsory.
At the moment the legal basis for the educational system in Latvia is the
- Education Law,
- General Education Law,
- Vocational Education Law, and
- Law on Institutions of Higher Education.
The Education Law was passed on 1991 (recent version of 1998), and was one of the first laws adopted after the restoration of independence.
The goal of the Education Law is to provide a possibility for every resident of Latvia to develop ones mental and physical potential, to become an independent personality, the member of the democratic state and society of Latvia. According to the age and needs of the individual, educational system of Latvia provides a possibility:
- for moral, esthetical, intellectual and physical development;
- to gain skills and knowledge in humanities, social, nature and technical areas;
- to gain skills, knowledge and experience of attitude in order to take part in the life of society and state.
General Education Law: stipulates the organisational and functional principles of general (pre-school, integrated primary and lower secondary (pamatizglītība) and upper secondary) education; regulates rights and obligations of institutions and persons involved in general education.
Vocational Education Law: sets out the principles for organising, implementing and awarding qualifications both for initial and continuous vocational education; states the division of tasks and competences and the relationship between employers, teachers and trainees; recognises an active role for social partners in vocational education; states the different pathways for pursuing vocational education, the structure of programmes and the funding principles.
Law on Institutions of Higher Education: regulates legal basis of higher education institutions and colleges, sets the autonomy of higher education institutions, and states the cooperation between higher education institutions and state institutions to harmonize autonomy of higher education institutions with interests of society and state.