The competence of the Ministry of Education and Science includes responsibility for the policy and strategy in ensuring the quality of education, but the State Service of Education Quality has responsibility for the quality of education. There are quality assurance policy and procedures in the education programmes on all education levels.
The evaluation of education institutions
The Education Law determines that all educational institutions, except those which implement only interest-related education programmes (realisation of the individual educational needs and desires of a person regardless of age and previously acquired education), have to be accredited. Accreditation is carried out within five years starting with the first day of activity by the education institution.
The evaluation of education programmes
Each education programme has to be accredited as well. It must be done within two years from the day of the programme's start, and not less than once in six years. Higher education study programes have to be licensed.
Individual teacher evaluation
Teachers’ Professional Activity Quality Evaluation System envisaged voluntary evaluation of teachers according quality performance levels ranging from 1 to 3. During the assessment process a teacher has the right to apply for any quality level without following the succession. The quality level is the assessment result of the professional activity of a teacher, and it in effect only in that educational institution in which the assessment of the teacher has been carried out. The procedure is described by the Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers The Procedures for the Organisation of the Quality Assessment of the Professional Activity of Teachers.
Educational institutions have to prepare an internal evaluation report and a development plan, which are taken into account during external evaluation (accreditation).
Education Quality Monitoring System
In Latvia, there are already several education quality monitoring processes, including the system of accounting for the results of state examinations, accreditation of educational institutions, participation in international large scale assessments, accounting of education statistics in the State Education Information System. However, a common framework will provide an opportunity to analyze the interrelationships between the results of different processes, assess their impact, develop evidence-based education policies and implement the necessary support programmes, and generally ensure data-driven decision-making and action at all levels of education.
That’s why the Ministry of Education and Science commissioned a study on the concept of quality in education in Latvia, characterized by categories such as relevance to objectives, quality learning, inclusive environment and good governance. Also, in the course of the analysis, a description of the education quality monitoring system has been developed, including a precondition for successful implementation of the system. Based on the proposed education quality concept, a set of education quality monitoring indicators has been developed in five different types of education and their levels. At the same time, education quality monitoring tools or data analysis models are described, which will allow system users to accumulate, analyze and visualize data characterizing the quality of education.
The accomplished work is an important step in the development of a functioning education quality monitoring system. The system will provide important information not only for education policy makers at the national level, but also for municipalities, schools, parents, pupils and researchers. For example, more accurate information will enable students and parents to make more informed decisions about the choice of educational institution and programme. In turn, it will be an opportunity for educational institutions to evaluate the investments made and development perspectives.
Overview of legislation
In October 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers issued new regulation on procedure of accrediting general and vocational education programmes, education institutions, and examination centres (Izglītības iestāžu, eksaminācijas centru, citu Izglītības likumā noteiktu institūciju un izglītības programmu akreditācijas un izglītības iestāžu vadītāju profesionālās darbības novērtēšanas kārtība), uniting the accreditation of both general and vocational education. These Regulations stipulate a uniform accreditation procedure and define quality requirements in general and vocational education.
According to the Education Law (1998) and the Law on Institutions of Higher Education (1995), higher education institutions may start delivering only licensed study programmes. The licensing is a quality assurance, which is regulated by the Cabinet of Ministers’ Regulations of December 2018 Regulations Regarding Licensing of Study Programmes. The regulation describes the criteria of quality assessment of study programmes.
The procedure for the accreditation of HEIs and Colleges is defined by the Cabinet of Ministers’ Regulations Regarding Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Colleges (2018).