Network of early childhood education and care institutions
The number of ECEC institutions has gradually increased, from 550 in 2003/04 to 617 in 2013/14. This increase has mainly occurred in urban areas; in rural areas the number has not grown substantially. ECEC provision is particularly limited in the thinly populated south and southeast of the country (Central Statistical Bureau of latvia, 2015; MoES, 2015).
Private institutions play a relatively minor role in latvia though their numbers have been growing in recent years mostly due to shortages of ECEC places in city areas. of the 617 ECEC institutions in 2013/14, 526 were municipal (public) and 91 private (Figure 2.3). This translates into 74 128 children enrolled in public ECEC institutions compared with 5 063 in private institutions. The majority of these private institutions are located in the capital city, and there are very few private institutions outside the bigger cities.
As mentioned, latvia has faced shortages in ECEC places in recent years. This has been fuelled by internal migration from rural to urban areas. As a result many child development and play centres have been opened by both municipalities and private individuals. The purpose of these centres is to provide childcare services so that parents can access the labour market. As a rule, these centres also provide educational activities for children.