3.5. Modernisation of continuing vocational training (CVT)
In order to move toward an open and democratic society, life long
learning opportunities must be provided for adults, so that they may acquire experience
that will allow them to evaluate situations from all aspects and act freely and
appropriately. Today people have understood that continuing education offers a new level
of freedom, both in terms of self-expression and in terms of guaranteed social status.
This has been proven by the constant increase in demand for continuing education.
3.5.1. CVT provision (from the supply side perspective)
In 1999, according to data of the Ministry of Education and Science,
210,777 participants attended adult continuing education programmes (201,910 in 1998). All
together 6,044 training programmes were on offer (3,012 in 1998). The greatest number of
students is ages 18-40. Courses of short duration are most popular.
As can be seen, the most programmes are offered in social sciences - these are
programmes having to do with entrepreneurship, for example, bookkeeping and taxes,
real-estate brokerage, changes in legislation.
Continuing vocational education programmes are offered by state and local government as
well as private providers and non-government organisations. A total of 390 education
establishments in Latvia provide continuing education, of these 72 are Ministry of
Education and Science licensed vocational and continuing education establishments.
The main providers of continuing education are:
· Private education institutions;
· Line ministries and organisations subordinated to or
co-operating with them, for example, MoES Teacher Training Support Centre, the Ministry of
Agriculture Latvian Agricultural Consultation and Education Support Centre, the Ministry
of Welfare Medical Professional Education Centre etc.
· Continuing education departments and university distance
· Enterprise training centres;
· Professional associations, e.g., the Latvian Medical
Association and the Latvian Chamber of Crafts;
· Regional Adult Education Centres;
· Folk schools.
The largest providers of continuing education have united in the Latvian Association of
Adult Education and the Latvian Association of Adult Economic Education.
Some continuing education courses are also provided through distance learning.
3.5.2. CVT provision (from the demand side perspective)
In 1999 by data of CSB the greatest number of enrolees were in such
adult education programmes: transport services (which include driver courses); emergency
aid (it is compulsory for new drivers); economic education (it includes different business
courses); teacher training and language courses.
Each year there is an increase in the number of persons involved in
continuing education. By data of CSB the number of enrolees in adult education in 1996 was
100800 (8% of economically active population), in 1999 - 210777 (17,5%). But the data of
CSB show only the approximate number of enrolees, as continuing training not always can be
separated from practical work. Courses are most often attended by persons with a higher
education background who are motivated not to lose their professional skills and
continuously acquire new knowledge (see fig 12.).
It is interesting that according to the results of the 1999 Central
Statistics Bureau Labour Force Survey, 47% of all job seekers had an incomplete basic, a
basic or a general secondary education, that is, they had no professional background.
However, this group represents only 28% of the total number of persons who are involved in
continuing education programmes. While in November of 1999, 9.7% of job seekers had
completed higher education, and among those who attended continuing education programmes
35% were holders of higher education diplomas. This indicates that more must be done in
order to raise the general level of education of the population, because people of no
particular professional background have difficulty becoming involved in continuing
education, as they have no skills to up-grade and the learning process itself causes them
220.127.116.11. Participation of employed in vocational training sponsored by enterprises
CSB in cooperation with Leonardo da Vinci programme is carrying out
survey on vocational training sponsored by enterprises. The results will be available
approximately in March, 2001.
Since there are no normative acts to stimulate employers to sponsor the
continuing education of their employees, then it is currently up to the free will of
employers, and each decides individually how much and whether at all to invest in the
continuing education of staff.
18.104.22.168. Participation of unemployed in vocational training
The vocational training and retraining of registered unemployed is
financed by the state and organised by the State Employment Service (SES). To ensure
selection of the most efficient and high-quality providers of vocational training and
retraining for the unemployed, calls for tender are organised which are open to state (43%
of participants) and private (57% of participants) education establishments. In order to
compete for state funding the education establishment must be accredited.
Compared to 1998, in 1999 there has been an increase in the number of
training establishments which participate in calls for tender, as well as an increase in
the number of programmes offered.
In 1999 29,395 (4.9 thousands more than in 1998) unemployed persons
wished to acquire a new or to raise an existing qualification. In the limits of state
funding only 33% of them were supplied with training.
Since training and retraining can only be provided for part of the
unemployed who wish to learn, a new procedure for opening classes was implemented in 1999.
Prior to the beginning of the course, the unemployed persons’ professional knowledge and
suitability to the chosen profile was evaluated using tests. According to test results,
specialists from training establishments and the SES selected the most suitable candidates
for participation in classes.
In 1999 the largest number of unemployed persons was trained in the
following profiles in demand on the labour market: 788 bookkeepers, 653 dressmakers, 633
computer operators, 526 sales clerks, 509 cooks. In total in 1999 13,088 unemployed
persons graduated training courses and 50.6% of them have found employment.
Almost half of the unemployed (47%), who were trained through the SES
had no professional background, 52% were in the age group 30 to 49, and 25% in the age
group 18 to 25.
In 1999 the number of long-term unemployed persons involved in
vocational training decreased by 10%. As such people have difficulty to adapt to the new
economic conditions, it is useful to send them to vocational training only after enrolment
in other active employment measures (e.g., job seekers clubs or paid temporary public
22.214.171.124. Participation in individually motivated vocational training (adult
Each year the number of individually motivated participants of
continuing education programmes increases, which can be seen from the increase in the
proportion of participants’ fees in the funding of continuing education.
Participation in individually motivated continuing education in large
part is related to participation in personal development or hobby courses. In Latvia there
are 6 folk schools operating in rural regions with the goal of providing rural residents
with a well-rounded education. The folk schools try to continue the traditions established
in the period of the first Republic, i.e. the development of civic education.
In Riga and other large cities there are many training centres that
specialise in providing certain skills, for example, language centres, computer centres,
etc. As they are interested in attracting as many participants as possible, the courses
are offered both in the mornings and in the evenings, and on week-ends, and it is possible
to arrange individual tuition at a convenient time - it all depends on the participant’s
The fact that state funding is mainly expended on retraining of the
unemployed leads to the commercialisation of continuing education, and only persons who
are capable of paying for their education can participate in individually motivated
continuing education, while the rest must wait until they become unemployed.
3.5.3. Responsible bodies
Since a law on adult education (note: adult education in the Latvian
context is understood as any education pursued by adult persons, and is not equated to
literacy and numeracy courses, as in adult basic education) has not yet been passed, the
responsibility of institutions is not yet legally defined.
The Law on Education prescribes that local governments organize adult
education. There are Adult education centres in every region.
Professional associations, chambers are responsible for continuing
education of their members, as they deal with rights for practicing in defined occupation
(issuing of certificates etc.).
Ministry of Education and Science issues licences and accredits the
institutions of continuing vocational training which can award officially recognized
Ministry of Welfare is responsible for training of unemployed and
The coordination between different authorities is weak.
Funding for adult education is increasing annually. In 1999 it was
11,568,886 LVL, which was an increase of 3%, compared with 1998. State budget funds make
up approximately 48% of all funding for adult education; state funds are spent mostly on
training for the unemployed.
In 1999, as compared to 1998, funding for continuing education from
employers has decreased, while funding from participants has increased, which means that
individually motivated adult training is increasing, because employers give preference to
already trained staff. Employers do sponsor further training for their employees, which is
in the interests of the enterprise, but they do not wish to train persons who have no
3.5.5. Social dialogue and involvement of social partners
Co-operation between the government and the public is co-ordinated by
the Tripartite Council for Co-operation in Vocational Education and Employment (see
Since legislation does not assist employers who make efforts to invest
in continuing education, then employers are more interested in training their current
staff than in development of the system as a whole.
Professional associations are interested in the continuing education of
their members and in the evaluation of their skills, as they are interested in the
development of an open and fair labour market.
3.5.6. Curricula development
The educational establishments are responsible for curricula
MoES have developed requirements for curriculum, at the beginning of
2001 they are handed in the Cabinet of Ministers for approval. The duration of CVT
programmes must be 1/3 of the same level full- time vocational programmes. The unified
qualification exams that lead to level 2 and 3 vocational qualifications will be
introduced starting from September 2001. They will be unified for both IVET and CVT
3.5.7. Assessment and certification of the skills (including access to
formal qualifications and diplomas)
An examination of curriculum content and skills testing in continuing
education must take into account that adult education includes both formal and informal
education. Formal education leads to the conferral of a state recognised diploma. Informal
education includes both courses aimed at meeting labour market needs, following the latest
technologies, and hobby courses. The greater part of continuing vocational education is
precisely informal education, which ensures that persons do not lose their qualifications
and acquire new knowledge.
Figure 14: The scheme of CVT
Only programmes of continuing vocational training which have been
accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science lead to a certificate of vocational
qualification. The accreditation procedure evaluates the quality of implementation of
the vocational education programme.
Officially recognised education in a crafts profession can be obtained
by taking a journeyman’s or master craftsman’s qualifying exam at the Latvian Chamber
of Crafts (LCC). Based on the 1993 Law on Craftsmanship the state has given the LCC the
right to evaluate the level of vocational qualification of craftsmen in 159 vocations and
to confer a document attesting to the corresponding level of professional knowledge.
Qualifying examinations are organised and implemented by the professional associations
within the Latvian Chamber of Crafts.
If a journeyman has worked for 5 years in his trade, then he can apply
for a master’s examination, and upon passing the examination (creation of a masterpiece
and a test of theoretical knowledge), can receive a master craftsman’s diploma. By
mid-year in 2000 the LCC had also conferred 30 honorary master craftsman’s diplomas,
which are bestowed on persons who have worked over 40 years in their trade and have made
significant contributions to the training of apprentices.