Policy issue 2: Barriers to developing a high-quality and motivated ECEC profession
There is a growing body of research suggesting that having well-qualified staff with the right pedagogical knowledge and the ability to create rich and stimulating learning environments is central to the quality of ECEC and ultimately child outcomes (Litjens, diMattia and Viatte, 2010; Huntsman, 2008; Burchinal et al., 2002; OECD, 2006, 2012). Latvia is faced with an ageing ECEC workforce; close to one in five will retire in the next decade, even as it already faces shortages of qualified ECEC teachers, especially in Riga and other large cities. The high workload and relatively low salaries are the main factors in this shortage.
Little is also known about the quality and effectiveness of initial education and professional development in Latvia. These and other inter-related areas concerning the working conditions and quality of ECEC staff point towards the need for a more strategic approach to ensuring sufficient numbers of motivated and quality ECEC staff in the years to come.