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Executive summary

The performance of Latvian students on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has improved significantly since the start of the millennium. Twelve years on, Latvian students have neared the performance of many of their peers in oECD countries and even scored slightly above the oECD average in science. Further, while ongoing demographic decline has significantly decreased the absolute number of students, the share of the population in education has grown considerably since the mid-1990s. Children start their educational career at a young age, younger than many oECD countries, and many continue into tertiary education. Sustaining this progress will be central to realising Latvia’s goal of providing all its citizens with a high-quality and inclusive education for personal development, human welfare and sustainable national growth. Latvia aims to achieve this goal by increasing the quality of the education environment and supporting the development of professional and social skills; this in turn requires increasing the efficiency of the system.

This review has been undertaken as part of the process of Latvia’s accession to the OECD Convention. Its purpose is to evaluate Latvia’s education policies and practices in comparison with OECD member countries. The review looks at where Latvia stands on the eve of accession, and how far it has to travel to realise its educational aspirations. This international comparison brings to the fore the many strengths of Latvia’s education system arising from its past commitment to learn from global best practice, but also highlights areas where further progress could be made. This review suggests how Latvia can overcome these challenges. It assesses current policies and practices against five important principles of well-performing education systems: a strong focus on improving learning outcomes; equity in educational opportunity; the ability to collect and use data to inform policy; the effective use of funding to steer reform; and extended multi-stakeholder engagement in policy design and implementation.

 
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