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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Single-structure primary and lower secondary education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

General characteristics of organisations

In Latvia the term for ISCED levels 1 and 2 is pamatizglītība ("basic education" or integrated primary and lower-secondary education). It is compulsory.

Single structure education pamatizglītība begins at seven years of age and lasts a total of nine years, consisting of 6 years of the first stage of pamatizglītība education (sākumskola) and 3 years of the second stage of pamatizglītība education.

Basic education is part of general education (vispārējā izglītība) which is implemented at the following levels:

  1. pre-school education;
  2. basic education;
  3. upper-secondary education.

Specific types of general education are the following:

  • special education;
  • social adjustment;
  • pedagogical adjustment.

Institutions providing single structure compulsory education are as follows:

  • sākumskola (classes 1-6, or in rare cases 1-4; a partial pamatizglītība or primary education school)
  • pamatskola (classes 1-9; a full single structure education programme i.e. integrated primary and lower-secondary education school)

The last years of basic education (grades 7 - 9) can also be acquired in ģimnāzija which principaly offers three years of full-time general upper-secondary education to students aged 16 to 19.

It is possible to obtain compulsory education also in vocational schools, in the schools providing education for children with special needs, in evening or boarding schools, social or pedagogical correction schools or classes or in other educational establishments providing compulsory education programmes.

Legislative framework

Satversme (the Constitution) determines the right to education for everybody. The Children’s Rights Protection Law determines equal rights and possibilities of all children to acquire education according to personal abilities. The Education Law and the General Education Law defines different types and forms of general education (including integrated primary and lower-secondary education), management, compulsory school attendance, and also determines the types of general education institutions. 

There are regulations governing curricula for schools providing integrated primay and lower-secondary (i.e. compulsory) education and upper-secondary education. At the central level curriculum is defined through the Regulations Regarding the State Basic Education Standard and Model Basic Education Programmes. These documents determine general aims of schooling, aims of each subject together with the description of content and time allocation.

National testing (diagnostical tests and examinations at the end of compulsory education) is regulated by specific prescriptions:

National Cente for Education administers national tests.

Each school, with the consent of the founder and in conformity with the General Education Law, accepts its own Regulations. They declare the legal status, the founder, describe the organisation of education process and economic activities, aims and tasks of the school, implemented education programmes as well as rights and duties of pupils and pedagogues.

Main objectives

Goals of compulsory education curriculum are:

  • to provide pupils with basic knowledge and skills necessary for social and personal life;
  • to generate background for further education;
  • to favour harmonious development and growth of personality;
  • to promote responsible attitude towards oneself, family, society, surrounding environment and the state.

The compulsory education curriculum should be implemented so that every pupil:

  • acquires basic knowledge of language and mathematics;
  • has understanding on general processes of nature and society, moral and ethical values;
  • acquires knowledge and democratic values necessary for a citizen of Latvia;
  • learns to study and adopts basic skills of using ICT;
  • gains possibility to get experience of creative activities;
  • acquires knowledge in Latvian, European and world culture heritage;
  • learns communication and cooperation skills.