Education in Latvia

Improving education outcomesPromoting equity in educational opportunitiesGathering and using data to guide skill developmentEnsuring adequate and efficient education fundingEngaging stakeholders in designing and implementing policyLatvia and its education systemContextThe Latvian education system - a brief overviewTeachers and school leadersMain trends in access, quality and equityHigh levels of access and participationImprovements in average student performanceStriving for equity in student performanceCross-cutting issues in Latvia’s education systemGoverning a highly decentralised education systemEnsuring an effective governance structureThe need to balance decentralisation with adequate public accountabilityEnsuring adequate funding and efficiency in education fundingRelatively low expenditure on educationScope for increasing efficiency of education spendingThe Latvian school funding formulaRealigning system capacity with demographic changesConsolidating the network of schools and tertiary education institutionsUsing data and research for evidence based policy makingImproving the education information systemEnsuring adequate capacity for using data and researchNotesReferencesEarly childhood education and care in LatviaIntroductionContext and main featuresGovernance and financingFinancing ECECChild andfamily benefitsOrganisation of ECEC services and learningNetwork of early childhood education and care institutionsNational ECEC curriculumThe ECEC workforceQuality assuranceResponding to children with special education needsChildren living in povertyKey policy issuesPolicy issue 1: Despite good progress, enrolment of the youngest children is relatively low and unequal across LatviaSteady progress towards universal enrolment among children aged 3 years old and olderContinue efforts to resolve waiting lists and expand participation among children under the age of 3Policy issue 2: Barriers to developing a high-quality and motivated ECEC professionEnsuring attractive working conditionsInvesting in and guiding the professional development of ECEC staffEnsuring quality and selective initial teacher educationThe need for a more strategic approach to developing the ECEC workforcePolicy issue 3: Strengthening the systematic data collection, monitoring and use of data on ECECUnderdeveloped system-level monitoring of ECECStrengthening the links between research, policy and practiceMoving towards a unified approach to monitoring service qualityPolicy issue 4: Governance and financing hamper equal access to quality ECECThe need to review governance and funding of ECEC servicesRecommendationsRecommendation 1: Continue expanding ECEC services, in particular in rural areas and for the youngest childrenRecommendation 2: Take a strategic approach to improving the quality and motivation of ECEC staffRecommendation 3: Strengthen data collection, monitoring and use of researchRecommendation 4: Review the governance andfinancing arrangements of ECECNoteReferencesPrimary and lower secondary education in LatviaContext and main featuresGovernance and financingCharacteristics of schools and the school networkThe size of the school systemClasses and student-teacher ratiosOrganisation of learning in schoolsSupport for students with additional and special education needsAssessment of student learningInternational student assessmentsSchool evaluationSystem-level monitoring of education qualityTeachers and school leadersProfiles and qualificationsInitial preparation and entry into the professionProfessional developmentRemuneration and status of the professionKey policy issuesPolicy issue 1: The need to improve teacher and leadership qualityLow remuneration and low status of the education professionThe need to make entry into the teaching profession more selectiveTaking a lifecycle approach to professional developmentAbsence of professional teaching and leadership standardsPolicy issue 2: Disparities in equity across the Latvian school systemLarge differences in performance between rural and urban schoolsThe challenge of putting “inclusive education” into practicePolicy issue 3: Underdeveloped assessment and evaluation arrangementsThe challenge of moving towards competency-based student assessmentsStrengthening teacher and school leader appraisal to foster improvementFurther improving school evaluationsThe need for stronger system-level monitoringRecommendationsRecommendation 1: Establish the conditions for a high-quality teaching and leadership professionRecommendation 2: Promote equity and excellence in education, with a focus on rural schoolsRecommendation 3: Develop a coherent assessment and evaluation framework for informing policy and educational practiceNotesReferencesUpper secondary general and vocational education in LatviaContext and main featuresGovernance and financingFinancing of upper secondary educationOrganisation and size of the upper secondary school networkGeneral upper secondary educationReorganisation of the vocational school networkContent and structure of education programmesGeneral upper secondaryContent of vocational education - an area of reformAssessment of student learningGraduation and completionGender segregationTeachers and school leadersSchool leadersParticipation in lifelong learningKey policy issuesPolicy issue 1: Improving the quality and relevance of vocational educationLack of quality and attractiveness of vocational education - the imperative for reformInvolving employers and social partners to strengthen the quality and relevance of educationModularisation of vocational programmes and occupational standardsThe need to strengthen work-based learningThe need for good data and information to monitor progressPolicy issue 2: Stark divide between upper secondary general and vocational pathwaysA “divided”, school-based upper secondary systemDouble qualificationsA subject-dense curriculumPolicy issue 3: Developing lifelong learningLow adult participation in formal and non-formal educationThe need to ensure employer support for education and trainingUnderdeveloped career guidance systemLifelong learning: A fragmented area of policyRecommendationsRecommendation 1: Continue improving the quality and relevance of vocational educationRecommendation 2: Narrow the divide between general and vocational upper secondary educationRecommendation 3: Increase efforts to raise participation in lifelong learningNotesReferencesTertiary education in LatviaContext and main featuresGovernance and financingFinancing tertiary educationOrganisation and size of the network of tertiary education institutionsAttainment, participation and graduationParticipationGraduation ratesAcademic staffInternationalisation of academic staffQuality assuranceScienceKey policy issuesPolicy issue 1: System capacity is not aligned with demographic decline, fiscal reality and labour market needsStudent population decline has had little impact on institutions and study programmesGrowing numbers of international students, but more Latvians studying abroadInsufficient alignment with labour market demandsPolicy issue 2: Inadequate tertiary education fundingChallenges of the tertiary education funding systemProposed “threepillar” funding modelPolicy issue 3: Concerns about the quality of tertiary education and scienceWeak tertiary education quality assurance systemDespite some progress, scope for further strengthening science and innovation remainsPolicy issue 4: Underdeveloped capacity for leadership and sustained implementationThe need to strengthen strategic leadership capacity at the national levelScope for strengthening institutional leadership capacity and public accountabilityRecommendationsRecommendation 1: Move forward with the implementation of the three-pillar financing modelRecommendation 2: Continue improving the quality of tertiary education and scienceRecommendation 3: Continue efforts to realign system capacity with demographic decline, fiscal reality and labour market needsRecommendation 4: Strengthen the capacity for strategic leadership and managementReferences
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