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Policy issue 2: Inadequate tertiary education funding

Tertiary education is a significant driver of national economic competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-driven global economy. As such, it is an increasingly important topic on national policy agendas for many countries. Alongside this increased policy focus, many tertiary education systems face serious challenges in maintaining their quality and relevance, increasing their efficiency, and securing equity in the area of tertiary education. New tertiary education financing models are being developed in many European countries in response to these challenges (World Bank, 2014b; OECD, 2008a).

For much the same reasons, calls for the reform of the tertiary education financing model have been growing louder in Latvia. in 2014 Latvia concluded an extensive assessment of the tertiary education financing system led by the World Bank which revealed a number of significant challenges, detailed below. Reform of the system for financing tertiary education is now one of the central priorities of the government of Latvia, and the World Bank study and its recommendations form the basis of the government’s priorities for tertiary education reform in 2015 and beyond. The World Bank proposed a “three-pillar funding model” which is likely to increase the quality, internationalisation and labour market relevance of tertiary education, improve access and concentrate resources (efficiency). A positive development therefore is that the model was endorsed by parliament in June 2015 and its implementation was set in motion directly afterwards.

 
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