As of January 1, teachers' salaries are increasing
From January 1, 2024, the minimum salary rate for teachers will increase by 12%, while for preschool teachers it will increase by 23%, equalizing it with the lowest monthly salary rate for other general education teachers.
To ensure high-quality and high-quality education, while continuing to increase the salary of teachers, the Ministry of Education and Science has prepared a conceptually new model of financing teachers' wages. In general, the 2024 state budget provides an additional 96.2 million euros for increasing teachers' salaries. The lowest hourly rate for teachers increases from 8.50 euros to 9.54 euros from January 1, which is 12.2% more than before, reaching 1374 euros per month for a workload of 36 hours a week.
The minimum hourly wage rate for preschool teachers will increase from the current 7.75 euros or 1240 euros per month to 9.54 euros, which is 23.1% more than before, reaching 1526 euros per month for a 40-hour work week.
The lowest monthly salary rates for heads of general education and interest education institutions, as well as educational methodologists, are also increased. According to the salary increase schedule for teachers approved by the government, the lowest monthly salary rate for teachers for a 36-hour work week will reach 1490 euros from January 1, 2025. The previous increase in the minimum salary rate for teachers to 1020 euros was ensured from September 1, 2023.
Local governments have access to the EU funding for the creation of a modern and comfortable learning environment in special education institutions
To improve the quality and accessibility of special education, municipalities in Latvia invest 14.7 million euros from the European Union funding, promoting the learning performance of students, and creating a learning environment that contributes to the well-being of students and teachers.
With the support of available EU funds, local governments will be able to improve modern, comfortable, and accessible infrastructure and learning environment in thirty special education institutions. With the available support for the introduction of modern teaching methods and techniques, there will be opportunities to modernize the classrooms, also ensuring the purchase of appropriate furniture and specialized equipment, the introduction of information and communication technologies and solutions. To improve household and improving self-care and independent skills of students, the available funding provides opportunities for municipalities to make investments as well in improving the boarding school infrastructure of special education institutions and equipment, as well as in development of territories, including for sports activities.
One of the basic principles of the Latvian education system is to provide equal opportunities to receive a good education for every child, regardless of the family's financial situation and educational institution locations. It is planned that when implementing investment projects, municipalities will help to improve the network of special educational institutions. In case of implementation of the projects, no more than one although strong and modernized special education institution will be established in local governments (except for the city of Rīga). Thus, it is planned that seven special education institutions and six places of implementation of special education programmes will be reorganized. Changes in the network of special education institutions are implemented to ensure quality education and provide full support for children with special needs.
Local governments and private schools will provide meals to Ukrainian students in the same amount as in state educational institutions
For minor citizens of Ukraine who are studying primary education programmes in grades 1-4 in educational institutions, meals in municipal and private schools will be covered from the state budget in the same amount as it is covered for one Latvian student in a state educational institution, the government decided in November.
The Ministry of Education and Science has calculated that 233 604 euros will be needed to provide free lunches for Ukrainian refugee students for the period from September to December this year, and 295 151 euros for the period from January to May 2024.
The government provides additional funding for participation in school subject olympiads and science events
With the additional support of the European Union (EU) funds participation, transport, insurance and other costs will be provided for students in subject Olympiads and scientific research competitions at the national and international level in the 2022/2023 school year. This is foreseen by the amendments to the regulations prepared by the Ministry of Education and Science, which were approved by the government in May 2023.
It is planned that the allocated funding will ensure students' participation in the international mathematics and physics olympiads in Japan, the biology olympiad in the United Arab Emirates, the geography olympiad in Indonesia, as well as scientific research work in the GENIUS olympiad in the United States.
During the implementation of the project, a total of 195,379 students and 7,386 teachers were involved in various events for the development of students' talents. During six years, Latvian students have won 20 gold, 72 silver, 147 bronze medals and 56 certificates of appreciation for participation in international subject olympiads and scientific research contests at international events.
The teacher salary model is linked to the organization of the school network
Latvia’s priority is the gradual increase of teachers’ salaries. As of September 1, 2022, the lowest monthly wage rate (for 30 hours work-week) for a teacher is increased again by 8.4%. Also, the increase in the lowest wage rate for preschool teachers is 11.2% (for 40 hours work-week).
Moreover, from September 1, 2022, state funding for teachers' salaries is calculated and transferred to local governments, which will further distribute it to their schools. It is a transition from the previous model "money follows the student". Local governments are entrusted with responsibility to decide within their own territories, their development strategies and funds - what, how big and how busy schools can be developed for the children of their region and how to create an optimal and decent teacher's salary.
Among the important principles of the new model are:
- Solidarity stimulus: additional 2.5% increase, if school network in the municipality has already been optimized;
- If the ratio of the pupils to teacher in the municipality is above the national average, as of 1 September 2022 – additional funding of 2% is transferred to the local government;
- Municipalities have to distribute at least 7% for educational support staff and not more 15% for school administration;
- Increased support for inclusive education, i.e., for education of children with special needs.