Latvian national Observatory report 2000
MODERNISATION OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN LATVIA

4. Management training

At the end of 1999 there were 39,941 active small and medium enterprises (not including peasant farms) with up to 250 employees in Latvia. That makes 99.3% of the total number of active enterprises.

There are very many business and management sciences programmes offered at higher and vocational education establishments. During the 1999/2000 academic year 48% of the student population was studying social sciences, which include various business programmes. In the 2000/2001 these studies are offered at 15 Latvian higher education establishments. Several higher education establishments offer programmes in management for the tourism and hospitality industry. Rural tourism services, small hotels and cafes are the type of enterprises that are expected to develop in rural areas, where the problem of unemployment is most pressing. Vocational education establishments are also responding to labour market demand and offering more and more new programmes in the social sciences and in business. The demand for these programmes is evidenced by the number of students enrolled: 3,761 in 1996; 5,831 in 1997; 7,088 in 1998 and 7,852 in 1999. The State Employment Service also provides courses in business.

The report “Assessing Management Training Needs at the Achieved Level of Transition in Latvia” was presented by researchers of Riga International College of Economics and Business Administration in July, 2000. The report gives an overview of the present economic situation in the country, assesses nature and magnitude of the challenges perceived by the surveyed companies, provides insight into their past training experience, analyzes present practices, managerial capabilities and strategies and plans for future. The report also presents recommendations for companies managers and training providers in respect to further development of management training.

The survey was based on the set of three questionnaires addressing three level of managers: general managers, human resource managers and individual managers. This survey “Assessing Management Training Needs at the Achieved Level of Transition” is an extension of the survey thus called and carried out in 5 countries in 1999. The project was carried out under the auspices of Central and East European Management Development Association (CEEMAN) and sponsored by European Training Foundation.

5. VET teachers/trainers/managers and administrators

5.1. Administrators and teachers in the vocational education system

VET teachers can be divided into 3 groups: general subject teachers, professional subject teachers and craft teachers. General subject teachers usually have a pedagogical degree and they are allowed to work at general and vocational schools. Professional subject teachers usually have higher vocational education in the appropriate field, they should receive extra training in pedagogy. Craft teachers usually have a secondary vocational education, they also should receive extra training in pedagogy.

The Law on Vocational Education enacted in 1999 proscribes that in order to be eligible to work as a teacher in a vocational education establishment a person must have an appropriate vocational education (qualification) and a pedagogical education, or must have completed vocational education (have an appropriate qualification) and be in the process of acquiring teacher training which complies with the Cabinet Regulations concerning qualification requirements for teachers at vocational education establishments. This article in the Law will be in force as of 1 January 2004, which means that until that time it is possible to teach at vocational schools without having a pedagogical education. The Law does stimulate persons who have decided to become involved with vocational training to acquire a teaching qualification.

Table 6. Teaching staff of VET schools

Academic year Total teaching staff

Of the total teaching staff

craft teachers classroom teachers with higher education
(of which with pedagogical education)
with general secondary or secondary vocational (of which with pedagogical education)
1996./97. 5,740 1,670 2,908 * *
1997./98 5,661 1,643 2,862 * *
1998./99. 5,430 1,503 2,831 4,046 (2823) 1,384 (165)
1999./2000. 5,380 1,373 2,858 4,036 (2930) 2,231
(158)

* data not available
Source: CSB data

5.1.1. Training for school directors

In Latvia there is only one programme of professional studies available in school administration, offered by the Riga School of Teaching and Education Administration. However, most school directors are people who have worked for a long time in a school and who have both teaching and professional experience. These people have definitely completed higher education in an industrial field or teaching, and they can add to their knowledge by acquiring a masters degree in Education Administration or attend School Administration courses in several continuing education establishments, such as adult education centres at universities, the Teacher Training Support Centre et al.

5.1.2. Certification of directors of vocational education establishments

In order to evaluate the capacity of vocational education establishment administrators and to promote the improvement of their skills, as of the middle of 1999 vocational education establishment directors undergo certification. Since the certification procedure is funded by the state budget, it applies only to state and local government operated vocational education establishments. Directors of private vocational education establishments are not required to be certified.

The main objectives of certification are:

1. to analyse and evaluate the professional training of school directors and their work in school administration, and to bestow a vocational qualification category;

2. to establish requirements and guidelines concerning the improvement of training for education administrators;

3. to grant salary bonuses for qualifications according to the category bestowed, thus establishing a unified national incentive system for directors linked to vocational qualifications.

During the certification procedure the following aspects are evaluated:

1. management of the school, according to expert opinion;

2. educational background and work experience, according to documentation;

3. continuing education and improvement of professional skills, according to documentation;

4. self-assessment.

By mid-year in 2000, 66 directors have been certified, of these 35 have achieved the superior level, but 21 have achieved the intermediate level of vocational qualification categories. It is expected that 22 more directors will be certified by the end of 2000. Certification of school directors must be repeated after 5 years.

A general certification of teachers is also planned, but has not yet begun due to a lack of available budget funding.

 

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