Definition of the target group(s)
The Education Law states (Section 3) that persons: “have equal right to acquire education, regardless of their property or social status, race, nationality, gender, religious or political convictions, state of health, occupation or place of residence”.
Besides, The Law On Social Security states (Section 4) that: “persons who wishes to acquire an education that corresponds with their interests and abilities has the right to individual support for their education, if they themselves do not have access to the necessary resources”.
Specific support measures
The Construction Law defines accessibility of the environment i.e. a possibility for people with movement, visual or hearing impairments to move in the environment in conformity with the planned function of a structure. The Ministry of Economics monitors and controls the compliance of public buildings and constructions to the requirement of the accessibility of environment for people with impairments.
In 2004-2007 and 2009-2014 most of institutions where higher education programmes are offered, have implemented and/or implement significant infrastructure development projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The aim of the projects is to arrange the infrastructure of higher education institutions by renovating the premises, providing safe environment, adapting the premises and improving learning environment for persons with special needs. The project of Riga Technical College is only one among many other good examples.
The Social Integration State Agency provides college level programmes (ISCED 5 level or professional qualification level 4 according to the Regulations on Classification of Education in Latvia) and offers advantages for persons with special needs. Study environment is completely suitable for students with special needs and education for persons with special needs is ensured with state subsidised study places.
In general, support measures for disadvantaged students vary among higher education institutions. It is institutional autonomy how to provide any special support (special teaching methods and materials; arrangements for evaluation of progress etc.) for disadvantaged students. In practice, disabled students usually are receiving support according his/her individual needs both from the institution staff and other students. For instance, student support provision at the University of Latvia is based on a model that allows the integration of all support services for students, including academic (education), career, psychological issues and assistance to persons with disabilities. Administration of these activities within the University is coordinated by Student Services Department.
According to the Regulations regarding Stipends, disabled persons, orphans and persons from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds have some advantage when apply to stipends (grants). However, only students studying in state-subsidised study places are eligible to apply to study grants from public budget.