A uniform procedure for admission to professional education programmes is established
In May 2023, the Government approved the regulation prepared by the Ministry of Education and Science on the procedures for admission to professional education programmes and exclusions from them. The Regulation on the procedure for admission to professional education programmes and exclusions from them (Noteikumi par uzņemšanas kārtību profesionālās izglītības programmās un atskaitīšanu no tām) determine uniform requirements and the procedure by which persons are admitted, transferred to the next course, class or group of vocational basic education, vocational education, vocational upper-secondary education, vocational further education, professional development education and vocationally oriented education programmes.
Until now, the procedures for admission to professional education programmes, organization of entrance exams, as well as transfer to the next course or deduction from the professional education programme were determined by the internal regulations of educational institutions and their founders.
The new rules stipulate:
- requirements for registering a person in order to be admitted to start learning the programme, as well as the information specified in the application;
- the conditions and procedure in which the educational institution organizes entrance examinations, which can be both a competition for the evaluations contained in a person's previously obtained educational document and a test of previous professional knowledge and skills;
- conditions for transferring to the next course, class or group, if the programme has more than one study course, class, group and if the requirements set out in the national education standard and professional education programme are met, providing for the acquisition of a lower level professional qualification, the possibility of obtaining a part of the professional qualification, if the student unable to complete the entire programme due to insufficient skills or knowledge;
- if the previously started acquisition of professional education is interrupted at some point and the student must be excluded from the study of the programme, she or he can apply for admission to continue education in the later study stages of the programme in accordance with the procedure for recognizing a person's competence for admission to the later study stages of the vocational education programme.
Latvia continues to build a flexible VET and adult learning system
Latvia continues to build a VET and adult learning system that focuses on the needs and abilities of an individual, promotes strong partnership with the industry and reduces skills imbalances, as well as promotes modular vocational education.
In 2022 Latvia adopted amendment to the Vocational Education Law which promotes flexible learning anywhere and anytime, providing learners with the opportunity to receive a state-recognized document not only for the entire educational program, but also for its individual parts. Modular professional education programs have been introduced, thus the time to respond promptly to the requirements of the labour market will be significantly reduced.
Latvia has developed National Qualification System with currently 15 Industry Qualifications Frameworks to better match the labour market supply and demand.
Furthermore, Latvia is moving towards implementation of micro-credentials as part of the Latvian Qualifications Framework which is a tool for comparing acquired professions and their corresponding professional qualifications, facilitating the transnational mobility of learners and staff, and promoting their lifelong learning.
Support for employers in promoting skills development in Latvia
In July 2021, the European Commission's (EC) Directorate General for Structural Reform Support, in cooperation with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), started implementing the Technical Support Instrument project Support to Employers in Promoting Skills Development in Latvia. In Latvia, the implementation of the project is coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Science.
Technical assistance (expertise, including expertise of international experts) is available under the EC Technical Support Instrument and does not require national co-financing. The project will include extensive consultations with Latvian stakeholders, in-depth data and policy analysis, learning from other countries that also face similar challenges, good practices, as well as the identification of potential barriers and the search for solutions.
As a result of the project implementation:
- an assessment of the main obstacles has been performed and the conditions that promote the investment of Latvian employers in the skills of their employees have been clarified (2nd quarter of 2022);
- identified examples of international good practice that encourage employers to invest in the skills of their employees (3rd quarter of 2022);
- practical guidelines have been developed to develop a regulatory framework to support employers and promote investment in employee skills development (2nd quarter of 2023);
- developed monitoring framework, incl. the methodology and monitoring indicators that will facilitate the evaluation of the implementation of the implemented support measures (3rd quarter of 2023), and
- a roadmap for further action on a support system for sustainable and socially responsible adult education has been developed (3rd quarter of 2023).
The proposals developed within the project for the regulatory framework of employer support measures together with the Skills Funds initiative, the Individual Learning Accounts initiative and other activities will create a basis for a sustainable and socially responsible adult education support system. It will ensure the right of employees to supplement their knowledge with a certain regularity, while employers will create obligations to ensure the development of employees' skills, as well as define the rights of employers in this process, as well as create a legal framework for directing state budget investments to support employers.