national Observatory report 2000
MODERNISATION OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN LATVIA
|3.4.2. Responsible bodies
The Law on Vocational Education passed in 1999 determines the competence of bodies responsible for the organisation of vocational education:
The Cabinet of Ministers:
The Ministry of Education and Science:
Within the Ministry of Education and Science, the Vocational and Continuing Education Department (VCED), as well as the Professional Education Centre (PEC) under its jurisdiction, deal with vocational education.
The VCED develops national policy and strategy in vocational and continuing education and implements it in co-operation with other state institutions. It plans, manages and co-ordinates the development of vocational education on the national level, supervises state operated vocational education establishments, co-operates with employers’ organisations and unions. The VCED harmonises vocational education policy with the requirements of the EU and participates in the development of international agreements. It is also in charge of the implementation of college level vocational education in Latvia.
The PEC organises the accreditation of vocational education establishments and programmes and the development of occupational standards, develops the content and methodology of qualifying exams, co-ordinates the activities of training and examination centres, and holds in-service training courses for vocational education teachers.
The management of VET is centralized at the national level with responsibilities shared between four different ministries. The role of local governments in development of VET is weak, because the regional reform has dragged on.
The main source of funding for education in Latvia is the state budget. The education budget was 7.2% of GDP in 1999. This level of funding ensures survival of the sector, but does not promote development.
Table 5: Expenditure for education within the state budget, 1996 - 1999 (at current prices)
State operated vocational education establishments are under the jurisdiction of several ministries, which is why national budget funds for the management of vocational education establishments are granted separately to each ministry. The budget of the Ministry of Education and Science also covers the teachers’ salaries and social security payments of local government operated vocational education establishments, as well as subsidies to private vocational schools.
The national budget for the year 2000 includes approximately 30 millions LVL for vocational education, which is 11% of the total education budget.
The largest part of the funds (79%) is intended for regular expenses, including wages. Subsidies and grants (17%) are generally intended as subsidies and grants to persons, which are paid out to students as personal maintenance grants and reimbursement of transportation costs, because, in the year 2000 budget only 8,000 LVL are earmarked as subsidies to private vocational education establishments. Expenditure on capital investment (4%) includes both capital expenditure and investment. This budget distribution does not, of course, indicate a capacity for sectoral development, nor the ability to adapt to labour market demand.
In order to at least in some measure provide for the development of schools, it is important to find additional sources of funding, for example through co-operation with enterprises or by attracting donors, which is why a school’s capacity for development depends largely on the motivation and initiative of the school’s director.
The Cabinet of Ministers, in conformity with the Law on Education, has stated the minimum of expenses for implementation of VET programmes per one student. The Cabinet of Ministers has stated that the lowest minimum of expenses per one student per one year is 540 LVL for the following VET programmes: communication sciences, library and information sciences, law, business and public administration, shipping services. The highest minimum of expenses is set for dentistry (1522 LVL) and choreography (1409 LVL) programmes.
The Law on Education determines that founders of educational establishments are responsible for provision of funding according to these stated minimum expenses.