Funding has been redistributed for the implementation of the support programme for Ukrainian refugee children
In April 2023, the government supported the proposal of the Ministry of Education and Science for the redistribution of funding, so that more than 1 million EUR would be directed to the organization of various non-formal education events for Ukrainian refugee children. The support programme is planned to be implemented until December 1, 2023, involving approximately 3500 children and young people.
Support measures are organized in order to reduce the psycho-emotional stress caused by the war events for Ukrainian children and youth, as well as to strengthen the ethnic identity of Ukrainian children and their unity with the Ukrainian community living in Latvia. Likewise, it is important for Ukrainian refugee children to continue learning the Latvian language in order to fully and successfully integrate and be included in the cultural environment and education system of Latvia. The planned support is needed both for those Ukrainian teenagers and young people who study remotely in Ukrainian educational institutions and whose communication with their peers in Latvia is limited, as well as for those who simultaneously study in both Latvian and Ukrainian educational institutions and feel overloaded.
Various activities will be organized in the support programme:
- for learning and strengthening Latvian language skills both in language teaching and learning classes and in creative language integrated learning classes,
- for the preservation and practice of the Ukrainian language, traditions and cultural values, in order to reduce the psycho-emotional tension of children and young people and to maintain community ties with the Ukrainian community in Latvia,
- to get to know the natural and cultural space of Latvia, in order to integrate more successfully into the local community in cooperation with Latvian children and young people, etc.
According to the data of the Civil Defense Administration of Latvia, by the end of February 2023, 8928 Ukrainian refugee children between the ages of 5 and 18 were registered in Latvia. 4299 students are registered in the Latvian education system, of which 1524 are in preschool educational institutions, 2775 are in general educational institutions, and 74 are studying in professional educational institutions. Thus, there is not enough information about a large part of Ukrainian school-age children, including 5-6-year-olds who should start school on September 1 - where, how and whether they study, what is their social and psycho-emotional state.
Taking into account the experience of 2022, when the funding allocated for the organization of camps was only partially used, non-formal education events are planned for 2023, which will not be limited to the organization of camps in the summer period. This time, diverse measures will be able to be implemented by the end of the year and the offer will be much broader and more flexible, taking into account the needs of Ukrainian children.
The support programme will be implemented by the National Education Center in cooperation with local governments, which will attract event implementers through a tender procedure. They can be both state and municipal institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations, higher education institutions, organizers of children's camps, as well as non-governmental organizations of the Ukrainian community and organizations that provide support to Ukrainian refugees.
Various forms of activities can be used in the implementation of the events, such as language learning and interest-related (hobby) education classes, creative workshops, team-building events, excursions, walking in nature, outdoor activities, visiting a museum/cultural event.
More information on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science about support for Ukrainian refugees in Latvia.
Latvia continues to build a sustainable digital infrastructure and learning platforms
Latvia continues building of a sustainable digital infrastructure and learning platforms, as well as ensures high-speed connectivity for all general and professional education institutions.
Strategic investments in infrastructure, including from the EU funds, have made it possible to create the prerequisites for a high-quality, inclusive, flexible and innovation-oriented education system. Support will be provided to continue the digitization of the general and professional education institutions. With the support of the ESF, it is planned to fully modernize 15% of all general education institutions by December 31, 2023.
In the program of EU funds for mitigating the consequences of Covid-19 (REACT EU instrument), more than 10 million EUR together with the co-financing of local governments is planned for the purchase of approximately 20,000 more computers. The Ministry of Education and Science has set a goal of provide support to ensure a smart device for every learner.
A powerful Internet is indispensable for quality learning, it is a path to equal opportunities for every student in Latvia, regardless of their place of residence. In order to increase the Internet data transmission speed in Latvian schools, the Ministry of Education and Science has signed a cooperation memorandum with private partners "Powerful Internet for every school in Latvia". Fast and efficient Internet in education in Latvia will contribute to the wider implementation of digital curriculum and methods in the learning process.
To support the implementation of the improved curriculum, a modular, integrated online e-learning environment solution is being created with included video conferencing and communication solutions and the possibility for schools to add their own. The Skola 2030learning resource repository is being improved, the skolo.lv platform has been created and the video material transmission platform www.tavaklase.lv has been maintained, which creates an integrated solution for the work of students and teachers for face-to-face and distance learning.
Career guidance and support for learners will continue
European Union (EU) funding for career development support measures in educational institutions will be available in the 2021/2022 school year as well (additional funding in the amount of more than 1.3 million euros). This will provide opportunities to maintain the network of teachers - career guidance counselors, ensure continuity of support for students, as well as allow to expand the work with the learner's parents. This is provided for in the amendments (available in Latvian) to the regulations of the EU funds programmes prepared by the Ministry of Education and Science, which were approved by the government in August 2021.
By the end of 2022, Career Weeks and regional conferences on guidance measures will also be provided. The attractiveness and excellence of Latvia's vocational education at the international level will also be strengthened by organizing competitions for young professionals and ensuring Latvia's participation in the international competitions EuroSkills and WorldSkills 2022.
Cooperation and work with parents will be expanded, providing support not only for career guidance development of children and young people, but also emphasizing the idea of lifelong learning, lifelong career management skills development and practical methods and techniques for family career development and involvement in lifelong learning.