Latvian national Observatory report 2000
Executive summary

This is the fifth report on vocational education and training prepared by the Latvian National Observatory to the European Training Foundation.

The country has overcome the consequences of the Russian financial crises. The national economy has stabilised. Calculated in constant prices, industrial production output in October 2000 was 5.6% higher than in October 1999. The level of registered unemployment in December 2000 has stabilised to 7.8%.

At national level the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) is responsible for the development of vocational education and training (VET). In summer 2000 many changes took place in the MoES. The Vocational Education Development Department was reorganised and now it is the Vocational and Continuing Education Department. This shows that also at national level vocational education is considered as education lasting all life long. Still the reorganisation within the MoES does not eliminate the lack of uniformity in the VET network. Initial VET schools are still under the jurisdiction of four ministries (MoES, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Culture).

The reform of VET is on-going, but at the moment it mainly concerns initial vocational education and training. Legislative alignment is continuing according to the Law on Vocational Education adopted in 1999. It is very important that standards on vocational education and vocational secondary education are adopted. The elaboration of occupational standards has started.

The role of social partners is growing every year. Social partners are involved in discussions about educational programmes, occupational standards and in providing placements for practical training. The instability of the majority of enterprises and lack of tax incentives deters the social partners from investing in education, but it is a fact that their interest in the development of VET has increased.

The EU Phare programme “Vocational Education and Training 2000” has given an important contribution to the development of VET. Research on first level higher vocational education (a new educational level in Latvia) has been carried out within its framework. The elaboration and implementation of first level higher vocational education programmes has started.

The weakest point of vocational education and training in Latvia is continuing vocational education. The Law on Adult Education has not been adopted yet. The co-ordination between different institutions dealing with continuing education is very weak. So the next step in the modernisation of VET must be the modernisation of the system of continuing education and training.


This is the fifth annual Latvian National Observatory’s country report on vocational education and training to the European Training Foundation (ETF). The main objectives of the report are:

  • To describe the current situation of specific issues;

  • To elaborate changes in VET development in Latvia;

  • To present progress and/or achievements;

  • To indicate obstacles and consider solutions;

  • To make possible cross-national analysis,

  • To provide information to national authorities and other partners.

The study is elaborated on the basis on summaries and analyses of available information,, documents, statistical data as well as secondary analysis of sociological research.

As basic data sources the data from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB), State Employment Service (SES) and Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) were used. The study also includes relevant information from different research findings, UNDP human development reports and reports of the Ministry of Economics.

During the ten years in which Latvia is again an independent state, essential changes have affected the country’s educational system. In order to compare the level of education of the entire population, CSB and SES use some terms applied in the soviet educational system, as it is impossible to transfer them directly to the existing system. Terms used for non-existing levels of education are:

  • Secondary specialised education - these are level 3 or 4 vocational qualification programmes acquired after or parallel to secondary education programmes;

  • Secondary technical education - these are level 2 or 3 vocational qualification programmes acquired parallel to secondary education programmes.

The statistical data from academic year 1999/2000 are used. Legislation described is in force during 1999 and 2000.
During the process of preparing the report, representatives from the following institutions were consulted:
Ministry of Education and Science, Professional Education Centre, Central Statistical Bureau, State Employment Service, Career Counselling Centre, Agency for Vocational Education Development Programmes, Latvian Employer’s Confederation.


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