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Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Move forward with the implementation of the three-pillar financing model

A recent assessment by the World Bank revealed a number of challenges of Latvia’s tertiary financing model. in response a “three-pillar” tertiary education financing model was proposed. Latvia should carry out its intention to move ahead with the development and implementation of the new financing model.

The pace of implementation will depend on state budgetary commitments. The government has indicated it will increase investments and expenditure on tertiary education. If these additional funds materialise they will provide the opportunity to develop new funding instruments that can be developed with “new money” flowing into the system. Latvia should also ensure that the money freed up by the projected decline in student numbers is used to intensify and improve the quality of teaching and research. The new model should also be more equitable, moving away from the purely merit-based selection system, and ensuring that promising disadvantaged students who for various reasons are not at the top of the class have access to free study places.

Furthermore, in response to the downward trend of part-time students - which stands at odds with Latvia’s lifelong learning ambitions (see Chapter 4), the government should promote part-time study with financial assistance and incentives for employers to invest in the professional development of their employees, which may include part-time university level studies.

Lastly, the new model should be supported by policies and regulations that ensure greater transparency and accountability towards external stakeholders (both public and private) in the way tertiary education is funded and linked to the quality of education and research, and how these relate to developments in larger society. This will help increase the willingness of stakeholders to invest in tertiary education, so that the envisaged added value of tertiary education and research will not just be realised but also demonstrated.

 
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