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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms related to transversal skills and employability


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.5National reforms related to transversal skills and employability

Last update: 17 June 2022


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.


Teachers have the opportunity to improve their digital skills

In 2020, the Ministry of Education and Science has set the improvement of teachers' digital competence as a priority goal of professional competence, providing it with additional funding.
Teachers are encouraged to actively use the opportunity to supplement their knowledge in digital skills free of charge and to apply for the CPD programmes Improvement of Teachers' Digital Literacy in the e-Environment for the Use of Educational Technologies with various background knowledge. The ministry has allocated a total of 500,000 euros for this purpose.

This year, the content of the courses is designed to reach the target audience as much as possible: management teams of educational institutions, teachers of vocational and general education schools, pre-school teachers, primary school teachers, as well as various subjects (mathematics, Latvian, computers, engineering, design and technology, physics, chemistry and biology) teachers.

It is an innovative approach to the organization of the process of improving the digital skills of teachers, as it provides an opportunity for each course participant to learn the content at a pace and time convenient for them. The course should look at the technologies and tools that can be used in the learning process to promote collaboration, facilitate the organization of the learning process. Participants will learn tools and technologies that help them do their daily tasks faster and more efficiently by summarizing results and organizing class work, as well as working in a team. The implementers of the courses have developed detailed learning tasks, attracted group leaders - consultants to ensure a favourable learning time for teachers.

State budget funding for the improvement of teachers' digital competence is provided every year. In total, 1.7 million euros has been allocated for the improvement of teachers' professional competence in 2020 from the state budget, of which 500,000 euros - for the improvement of teachers' digital competence.

International survey will reveal the level of civic competence of students in Latvia

Until the end of 2023, the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (IEA ICCS 2022) will be implemented in Latvia. This is provided for in the cooperation agreement concluded on 16 July 2020 between the Ministry of Education and Science and the University of Latvia.

Participation in the international civic education survey will provide internationally comparable data, therefore it will be a significant contribution to improving the quality of education. The analysis of the study will provide answers to questions such as the role of students in global citizenship, environmental sustainability, social interaction at school, the use of new social media for civic engagement, digital citizenship, and migration and diversity.

Already this year, researchers from the Educational Research Institute of the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology and Art of the University of Latvia will start work on the IEA ICCS 2022 pilot study on behalf of the Ministry. The IEA ICCS 2022 baseline study will be conducted from 2021 to 2023, while Latvia's results and more extensive analysis compared to other study countries are expected in the second half of 2023.

Latvia is participating in the IEA ICCS study for the fourth time, the first time in 1999. The study gives Latvia an advantage to follow the growth of civic knowledge of fifteen-year-old students and to study the dynamics of young people's readiness to fulfil their civic duties. Comparing the results of 2009 and 2016, the civic knowledge of Latvian students has slightly increased, but we are still lagging behind the democratic countries of the Baltic Sea region, including Estonia and Lithuania, in an international comparison.

The IEA ICCS is the world's largest international civic education study. Its aim is to explore the readiness of young people to fulfil their civic responsibilities, to find out the level of knowledge of eighth grade students in civic education. For a detailed analysis of the situation at the national level, survey questions will be prepared, which will allow in-depth study of issues important for the Latvian education system and the content of civic education. Moreover, the IEA ICCS study allows to include Latvia’s data and survey results in the EU and UNESCO reports and for monitoring the country's progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG4).


Findings and opportunities for improving Latvia’s skills performance

In 19 December in Riga “OECD Skills Strategy for Latvia - Assessment and Recommendations” report was launched. The report benefited from the financial and expertise contribution by the European Commission. Based on analysis of Latvia’s comparative skills performance, as well as the findings from widespread engagement with stakeholders in Latvia, experts have proposed a number of concrete recommendations to help Latvia to develop and effectively use people’s skills. This analysis and advice will support also the development of Latvia’s National Medium-term Strategy for Education and Skills for 2021-2027.

Four important themes emerged from this project:

  • Building capacity to improve the teaching workforce: Latvia has engaged in curriculum reform that involves a transition to a competency-based curriculum to better equip students with the skills they need for the 21st century. For this initiative to bear fruit, the skills of the ageing teaching workforce must be updated, the selection of candidates to the teaching profession should be reviewed, and a new life cycle approach to professional development, which is tightly linked to teacher appraisal, must be set out.  
  • Ensuring a sustainable funding mechanism for adult learning: Latvia has piloted many projects related to adult learning that are largely financed by European Structural Funds. This has allowed Latvia to expand counselling services for adults, support companies with providing training and upgrade the infrastructure of the vocational education competence centres, among other programmes. In order for these initiatives to be sustainable in the long term, funding sources should be broadened. Latvia could consider piloting a shared training fund in some sectors that employers contribute to and can draw from.
  • Creating incentives to retain and attract skilled workers: Population ageing combined with the high emigration of skilled workers pose serious challenges to Latvia’s ability to respond to changing skills demand. Skills shortages have increased in recent years and are evident in certain high-skilled occupations including engineers, various types of professionals and top managers. In response to these shortages, Latvia needs to improve working conditions and stimulate wage growth in high-demand occupations, while also taking a more active approach to recruiting foreign talent.
  • Monitoring and building capacity for coherent skills policies: The institutions and individuals involved in Latvia’s skills system require sufficient human and financial resources to fulfil their roles and collaborate with each other. To ensure that skills policies are co-ordinated, the state needs to better understand and respond to current capacity constraints in ministries, agencies and municipalities, as well as among key stakeholder groups. Government and social partners should form partnerships and invest to build their capacity for evidence-based, innovative and coherent skills policies.

It is important to emphasize that skills development policy requires broad consensus and strategic policy coordination not only in education but also in economic, employment and social welfare.

OECD Skills Strategy for Latvia report (PDF) and report summary (PDF) are available on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia.

Unemployed young people can apply for free training in 40 occupations

Throughout August until the end of September, young people aged 17-29 who have completed upper secondary education and are unemployed will continue to be admitted to vocational education institutions throughout Latvia. Training is available free of charge in 40 occupations demanded by the labor market and can be completed within 1.5 years.

Youth Guarantee training has been available in Latvia since 2014. Almost 8000 young people have already completed their training, which has helped them to enter the labor market. According to graduate surveys conducted by the State Education Development Agency, half a year after graduation, 72% of the young people surveyed find a job, with half of them in the profession provided by the Youth Guarantee.

The Youth Guarantee for final enrolment offers 40 professions coordinated with employers and industry experts. They include professions such as cook, confectioner, accountant, spa specialist, auto mechanic, logistics worker, babysitter, customer service specialist, financial technician, programming technician and others.

The Youth Guarantee programme’s activity “Implementation of Initial Vocational Training Programmes within the Youth Guarantee” is funded by the European Union Youth Employment Initiative and the European Social Fund, as well as from the Latvian state budget and was planned to be completed in 2018. As the activity of this project has yielded good results and youth unemployment in Latvia continues to decrease, the Youth Guarantee activity in Latvia has been extended to2021.