This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021.
The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.
The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels: Early childhood education and care; School education; VET and Adult learning; Higher education; and Transversal skills and Employability. Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
Overall national education strategy and key objectives
In 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers approved Education Development Guidelines 2021-2027 “Future Skills for Future Society”.
The overarching goal of the strategy is:
To provide quality educational opportunities for all residents of Latvia in order to promote the development and realization of their potential throughout their lives and to develop their ability to change and responsibly manage constant changes in society and the economy.
Education development goals for every child and adult in Latvia are:
- Competent teachers and academic staff
- Modern and high-quality educational offer
- Support for everyone's growth
- Effective management of the education system and resources
Horizontal priorities of the strategy are:
- Governance of education quality
- Strategical development
Following sectors encompass the lifelong learning:
- General education
- Vocational education
- Higher education and
- Adult education.
Strategic priorities for general education are:
- Implementing and strengthening the competences approach
- Sufficient supply of teachers
- Strengthening inclusive education.
Strategic priorities of vocational education are:
- Strengthening of vocational education institutions as centers of excellence and innovation of economy sectors
- Development of flexible educational offer
- Effective and coordinated cooperation with economic sectors.
Higher education strategic development in 2021-2027 means:
- Quality and academic careers of academic staff provision
- Promoting excellence (quality monitoring, cyclical accreditation, institutional capacity building, etc.)
- Strengthening of governance (change of governance model, strategical approach, etc.)
Adult education strategic priorities in 2021-2027 are:
- Increasing participation in adult education
- Strengthening the quality and governance of adult education
- Development of a sustainable financing system for adult education
- Public-private partnerships for adult education
- Development of adults’ digital skills.
Overview of the education reform process and drivers
In education sector the driving forces for reforms are the Government and the Ministry of Education and Science, together with stakeholders’ organisations - Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, vocational sectors’ experts’ councils, Rectors’ Council, Council of Higher Education, Employers Confederation of Latvia, Association of Local and Regional Governments.
In reforms’ implementation process the Ministry of Education relies on the subordinated institutions: National Centre for Education, State Service of Education Quality and State Education Development Agency.
Reforms and new initiatives in higher education and VET sectors in Latvia are encouraged also by the country-specific recommendations by the European Commission. Cooperation with international partners, for instance the World Bank and Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) supports the Ministry’s capacity to make an informed decision in the respective reform areas.
- One of the main ongoing reform in Latvia is the modernisation of vocational education, introducing the elements of dual training system or work-based learning in vocational education.
- Other significant initiative is related to the modernisation of higher education system, namely with implementation of performance-based funding for higher education according to the Government’s approved concept on the New Higher Education Funding Model Implementation in Latvia.
- The third major direction of national reforms is associated with further development of the teachers’ remuneration system.