Lack of resources and low teacher salaries keep the quality of teaching down. Moreover, it is often worse in the countryside. All colleges must now hold at least 60 percent of the lessons in Latvian, and the Latvian language is a compulsory subject in all schools. There are state as well as private schools.
Compulsory preschool was introduced in 2002 for all 5-6 year olds. The children start in the nine-year compulsory compulsory school at the age of seven. Nine out of ten pupils continue after compulsory school to the three-year high school or to two to four years of vocational education.
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From the 2020/2021 school year, it is proposed that Latvian should be the only language used in schools for all 16-18 year olds. Even at the high school, the plan is that more and more of the teaching will be in Latvian. However, the planned change has caused protests among many Russian-speaking families. It is also expected to be difficult to recruit enough teachers who can teach in Latvian.
Among some 60 universities and colleges, the University of Latvia and Riga’s Technical University are the largest. The Stockholm School of Economics has a high reputation in Latvia.
The Latvian universities have had difficulty competing at European level. Among other things, this has been due to difficulties in recruiting younger highly educated academics who are discouraged by low salaries and high workloads. The higher education institutions are also struggling with financial problems due to a decrease in the number of students. This is due, among other things, to low birth rates and emigration (see Population and Languages) and due to the fact that some of the students who leave high school choose to continue their education in another EU country. But it is also a consequence of the economic crisis in the late 00s when many could not afford higher studies. A few years into the 2010s, close to two-thirds of the students financed their studies themselves, while the rest got their studies funded by the state.
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FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
96.3 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
99.9 percent (2011)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
14.1 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
14.1 percent (2015)
The state of emergency is lifted
The government announces that the state of emergency introduced in March will now be lifted. However, some restrictions still apply to prevent the spread of infection, including rules for social distance of two meters between different societies, which may consist of no more than two people. In public transport, travelers must wear a face mask or other protection.
Travelers from low-risk countries do not quarantine
Latvia opens the borders to travelers from most EU countries and raises the requirement that visitors must spend two weeks in quarantine. However, quarantine rules still apply to travelers from countries where the spread of infection is still a problem. So far, nearly 1100 Latvian people have been infected with covid-19, while 24 people have died.
Baltic countries open borders to one another
15th of May
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania open their borders to travelers from the Baltic countries. However, visitors from another country still have to spend two weeks in quarantine before they can move freely in the countries. The number of cases of covid-10 has fallen sharply in the three countries.
An emergency permit is introduced to stop coronavirus
the 13th of March
The government announces that an emergency permit will be introduced until mid-April. All public gatherings with more than 200 participants are banned, cultural and sports activities are not allowed at present and schools are closed. The purpose of these measures is to combat the spread of covid-19 disease in the country.