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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Other dimensions of internationalisation in early childhood and school education


13.Mobility and internationalisation

13.4Other dimensions of internationalisation in early childhood and school education

Last update: 17 June 2022

European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development 

According to the National Standard for Basic Education and Standards for Basic Education Subjects, and Basic Education Sample Plans (2013), one of the tasks of education programmes of integrated primary and lower-secondary education level is to "develop understanding of Latvian, European and world cultural heritage". Direct reference to international dimension is made in the following subjects of compulsory education: Social Sciences, History and Geography. Indirectly, International dimension is incorporated into teaching of foreign languages. 

In the classes of Social Sciences pupils are informed on EU institutions, the European Council and EU currency. Besides, also the development of EU and its institutions as well as its symbols are discussed. Pupils have to understand the basic principles of international relations (such as sovereignty, treaties and non-intervention); the largest international organizations (UN, NATO, EU, OSCE, Council of Europe) and their functions. 

At the end of the course in Social Sciences, pupils should be able to:

  • describe ways and situations when cultural differences and different traditions encourage and impede the understanding among nations and their representatives;
  • describe the reasons for conflicts and co-operation between nations (such as territorial issues, resources, division of labour, integration);
  • describe global problems and international ways to solve them (such as environmental issues, illnesses, unequal distribution of natural resources, economical development and security);
  • analyse what are the gains for Latvia of participation in NATO, EU, OSCE and Council of Europe;
  • describe and name international non-governmental organizations and their value.

The subject of History discusses the history of the 20th century, including European integration. Pupils have to be able to name the core international organizations, understand regional (i.e. European) and global integration as well as global issues and problems. The historical aspects of Latvia's integration in European Union are also discussed.

At the end of the 9th class pupils have to pass a centralized test in Latvia’s and World History among other knowledge testing also European and international dimension of these matters. For example, pupils have to mark the EU member states and accession countries in the map and show the understanding of historic, cultural and linguistic links between Baltic region and rest of Europe.

In Geography pupils have to understand social processes and economies of European countries. Pupils also learn about the EU, its territory, they have to know the member states and candidate countries and understand the idea and co-operation forms of the EU.

According to the Regulations Regarding the State General Secondary Education Standard, Subject Standards and Sample Education programmes (2013), the aims to be achieved during this level of schooling include "to get pupil acquainted with the world's cultural heritage" as well as "to promote the understanding of political direction of Latvia and human rights in the context of Europe and the world".  

The European and international dimension on secondary education level is achieved in several subjects, including Politics and Rights, History, Geography, Basics of economics and other. A specific attention in Politics and Rights is paid to the theme "Latvia in International Politics". Pupils have to be aware of international relations, the main trends of Latvian foreign policy, and the integration of Latvia into international organizations. They have to be able to support their opinion for Latvia's integration in the EU and NATO as well as understand the motives behind Latvia's integration into the EU, NATO and other international organizations. 

"History" continues to be "eurocentric" in upper-secondary education. A big share of education time is devoted to history of Europe and its development from medieval times till nowadays, including Latvia's accession to the EU. Pupils have to be aware of different nations and nationalities in Europe and their roots as well as Latvia's place in European cultural context.

European dimension is also touched upon in subjects like Basics of Economics, where the EU budget is compared to that of Latvia and pupils get acquainted with the notion of common currency euro, Geography where pupils have to understand the geopolitics of European countries, History of Culture where the history of art and culture in Europe is discussed, and Literature where pupils learn about European literature.

Informative initiatives on international dimension are not centrally determined but they depend rather on the interest of an individual educational institution and non-governmental sector. Schools often celebrate Europe day on 9 May each year when, and also during the "Project week" (a project week was introduced since the school year 1997/98 for encouraging pupils and teachers to use the method of project work) schools often have information sessions and project work on European issues.

Teachers often use informative materials (guides, information packs etc) on Europe and EU provided by governmental and non-governmental organizations such as ESMāja(the EU House), European Movement in Latvia, Club Māja - Youth for United Europe and others.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in charge of the EU communication since 1 January 2010. The Ministry informs society, promotes discussions on the EU and Latvia’s membership in it, coordinates communication activities of the line ministries and involves other EU communicators in the activities. Learning tools and methodological recommendations in teaching about the EU for grades 1-9 and 10-12 are also published on the website.

Partnerships and networks

Many schools of Latvia participate in UNESCO Associated School programme’s project “Baltic Sea Project”. This is probably the world’s longest running multi-country school project in support of both environmental education and inter-cultural learning. Since 1989, 300 Associated Schools in nine countries around the Baltic Sea, have taken part in the flagship Baltic Sea Project to combine environmental education with intercultural learning. The project served as a concrete contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). This project, thanks to its longevity, has facilitated the publication and systematic exchange of pedagogical materials, experience and theory and the dissemination of good practices. Training seminars are regularly organized for teachers, as well as summer courses and forums for students.

There are several Erasmus+ international partnership projects related to entrepreneurship education with direct EU funding, for example, 'Social entrepreneurship development in Baltic Sea region', 'Erasmus for young entrepreneurs' and 'Student innovation labs – a way to sustainable and socially responsible growth'. 

A specific call for proposals of the EU programme Erasmus+ was launched in 2014 under Key Action 3 – 'Prospective initiatives' to support European partnerships in piloting and scaling up practices. One of the call's priorities was 'including the practical entrepreneurial experience at school'. The 'Innovation Cluster for Entrepreneurship Education' was a project selected on this topic. It is coordinated by Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise Europe – also involving some ministries of education – gathers partners from eight countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Finland and Norway). It received a grant of circa EUR 1.8 million over three years.