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Basic information on TTT

Concept of VET TTT.

Currently there is no unified state concept regarding VET TTT in Latvia. Traditionally there is a common teacherís education system for all teachers where VET teachers are not treated separately. Teacher training process mainly takes place as:

  • education of teachers takes place in university sector,
  • training of teachers within different international educational projects. These are directed towards improvement of teaching quality as well as towards mutual integration of subjects.
  • training of teachers in different courses (with no diploma education).

It has to be admitted that the weakest issue of VET TTT is collaboration with the real work environment, as pedagogues practically have no opportunities for in-service training at enterprises as well as possibilities to work with the newest technologies. Lack of such opportunities is partly being compensated by various three to five-day courses and seminars organised together with entrepreneurs.

Types of TTT.

  • What types of TTT exist in your country?
  • (For instance initial training, continuing training, in-service training), and which fields or areas of VET? (If there are more than one type in your country, please list them a., b., c. etc.; in response to the subsequent questions, please refer, if applicable, to these letters).

a) Initial education and training - traditionally there are no special initial education programmes for teachers and trainers in VET field. In Latvia there are only pedagogical programmes for teachers of general subjects or primary school teachers, music or art teachers. An effort to begin initial training of VET teachers/trainers was made by Riga Technical University. An option still exists to obtain (through choice of pedagogical subjects as electives) a VET teacherís professional qualification together with an engineerís diploma. It was envisaged to develop special "engineering pedagogy" programmes at RTU. However, because so far choice of a qualification of VET teacher has turned out to be unpopular (some 7-10 students per year), the development of "engineering pedagogy " programmes has been stopped. It is evident though, that it is necessary to change the public opinion regarding VET system as a whole and the work of VET teacher/trainer in particular.

Pedagogical staff members at vocational schools usually have one of the following two types of education:

  • in vocational field (higher or secondary vocational)
  • in pedagogy (higher).

As a result, the professionals lack pedagogical training, while these who have pedagogical education are not related to the vocational field but rather to the general subjects.

b) continuing training. A number of higher educational establishments offer teacher-training programmes for holders of higher education degrees/diplomas. These programmes contain general pedagogy, pedagogical psychology, and philosophy of education, contents and teaching methodology of the appropriate subject(s), didactic. Part of these programmes lead to masterís degree, others offer teacherís professional qualification or, more seldom, a Bachelor degree in pedagogy. It has to be noted that there is a tuition fee for most of these programmes and therefore they are not accessible for everyone who would like to acquire them.

Shorter courses for further education of teachers are offered both by universities and a number of different other institutions, such as:

  • support centres for continuous education training (Centres of Professional Education (CPE),
  • international organisations and programmes - TEMPUS and PHARE programmes, the British Council, bilateral assistance projects with Germanyís and Denmarkís Ministries of Education, Canadaís Colleges Association, co-operation projects of the Baltic and Nordic Countries).

So, the answer to a question: who teaches at VET schools in Latvia? could be the following. Traditionally specialists with a higher education or with a secondary professional (vidÁj‚ speci‚l‚) education in the appropriate field work as teachers of vocational subjects at educational establishments of vocational education. In many cases they have no pedagogical (diploma) education. Teachers of general subjects in their turn do have higher pedagogical education, but their education is not related to a concrete vocational field. Consequently, one can say, that the following types of TTT exist in Latvia:

Types of institutions.

At what types of institutions are these course programmes provided?

Part of upgrading courses and programmes are carried out at universities. The Law on Higher Education Establishments envisages university-type higher educational institutions at which mainly academic education is obtained and academic degrees (bachelor and master) as well as doctoral degrees are granted. Alongside these institutions, the law also envisages non-university professional higher education establishments where higher education and professional qualification are obtained.

However, most existing professional higher education programmes are offered by academic higher education institutions. Pure non-university type institutions/ programmes did not exist in Latvia so far. They are currently being created in terms of the PHARE HIVET programme.

Law on Higher Education Establishments stipulates that the academic programmes are based upon fundamental and applied science. An element of research is mandatory in these programmes and they lead to Bachelor or Masterís degrees. The "professional programmes" are more based upon applied sciences, research element is not compulsory in these but they envisage acquisition of knowledge and professional skills of a more practical character. According to Law on Higher Education Establishments, the group of "professional programmes" at academic higher education institutions also includes such programmes as teacher training programmes on top of a Bachelorís academic degree in a given subject, professional programmes in technical sciences on top of a Bachelorís degree in engineering.

Another way for upgrading teachers work is through different courses offered by Professional education centres and other adult education establishments.

Most recent basic statistics on TTT.

(Again divided according to types of TTT programmes and institutions). If possible, provide statistics on the following:

  • institutions,
  • new entrant teacher/trainer students,
  • all teachers,
  • all trainers;

desegregated, if possible, by:

  • gender,
  • field/professional area,
  • type of establishment: national, other public, private/non-profit, private /commercial, other.
  • differences between TTT institutions concerning e.g. institutional structure, financial administration, programmes and curricula, educational processes and training methods, examination/awards/degrees,

If available, provide statistics or estimates about:

  • the proportion of the respective age group entering the various types of TTT and,
  • student-teaching staff ratios in TTT institutions.
  • drop-out, failure and employment rates

If no official statistics are available on some course programmes, institutions, on the private sector, etc., please state estimates.

Unfortunately, since VET teacher training programmes are not treated separately from other teacher training programmes (see above), it is hardly possible to provide any statistical data regarding specifically VET TTT.

In year 1997/98 studies in education thematic group - teacherís education and education science is 14.7% of the total number of newly enrolled students. The share of graduates from teacher training programmes was 26,2% of the total number of graduates. 48% of new enrolees are admitted to state-financed study places and 52% must pay tuition fees.

Table 1.Statistical data on teacher education


Study programmes

Study programmes for new enrolees

Number of new enrolees


Number of students in total


Graduates 1997/98


Undergraduate studies









Masterís programmes









 The following higher education establishments provide programmes in pedagogy and education:

  • University of Latvia
  • Daugavpils Pedagogical University
  • Riga higher school of pedagogics and school management
  • Liep‚ja Pedagogical Academy
  • Rezekne Higher School
  • Latvian Academy of Sports Education

The higher education establishments mentioned above offer the teacher training programmes listed below. As one can see, very few of these may be regarded to as VET-related.

1. Bachelor programmes:

  • pedagogy
  • pedagogy (with two special subjects)
  • school management

2. Professional study programmes with integrated Bachelor studies

  • teacher of mathematics,
  • teacher of computer science/ computer specialist,
  • teacher of Latvian language and literature,
  • teacher of Latvian language and literature and a foreign language,
  • teacher of applied arts, of visual arts and of history of culture;
  • primary and basic school pedagogy,
  • music teacher at grades 1-12,
  • pre-school teacher,
  • teachers at special pre-school institution/speech therapists,
  • social pedagogy
  • sports pedagogy,
  • teacher of chemistry,
  • teacher of physics,
  • teacher of German,
  • teacher of Russian,
  • teacher of English,
  • teacher of Latvian,

3. Professional study programmes (with no Bachelor studies ):

  • teacher of computer science/ computer specialist,
  • teacher of science and mathematics for basic school,
  • teacher for primary school for Russian schools,
  • teacher of history and civic knowledge for basic school,
  • teacher for primary school,
  • teacher of applied art,
  • teacher of geography,
  • teacher of health education, etc.

So far the study programmes for secondary education level teachers are identical regardless of the type of school for which the teacher is being trained.

More than 5.7 thousand teachers work at professional education establishments at present.

Table 2.Teaching staff at secondary vocational schools, 1997/98 school year

Type of school

Total teaching staff

Of total teaching staff in basic employment

Of total teaching staff craft teachers

Of total teaching staff classroom teachers

Secondary professional (Videja speciala) education establishments





Vocational schools






In order to give an idea of who is teaching in the VET system of Latvia, two following examples are given.

Table 3. Pedagogical staff of nursing schools in Latvia by education level.

Higher pedagogical education


Higher professional education


Secondary professional education


Masterís degree





373 persons

The database on pedagogical staff of nursing schools will be fully ready in 1998/99 school year. At present Profession Education Centre of Medicine gathers answers to their questionnaires regarding education and professional upgrading activities of the pedagogical staff. The results will be analysed and summarised during the next year.

As another example the education level of the teachers at vocational schools under supervision of MoES is given (1505 persons responded to the questionnaire).

Table 4. Education level of teachers at VET schools under supervision of MoES

higher professional education 23%
higher pedagogical education 36%
secondary professional (videja speciala) education 28%
secondary vocational education 8%
general secondary education 5%

Approximately 13% of teachers from VET schools under supervision of Ministry of Education and Science attended different continuing training courses for teachers in the two recent years (Courses in terms of Phare VET reform program Ė200 teachers, Courses in Business education (Phare and other) - 120, other MoES organised programmes Ė 420). Due to several reasons some of these donít work at schools any more.

The data presented below show present situation regarding these teachers who work at vocational schools right now.

From interviewed pedagogical staff 47.4% had upgraded their qualification.

The main organisations and institutions used for upgrading (calculated from pedagogical staff participated in upgrading of qualification) was the following:

  • Professional education centre Ė 28.5% (1995-1997),
  • Chamber of Craft 17.7% (1993-1997)
  • Riga Technical University 9.3% (1994-1997),
  • MoES Education Development institution 5.8% (1993-1997
  • Abroad (through different projects) 6% (1993-1997
  • Latvian University 4.6% (1993 Ė 1997),
  • Daugavpils Pedagogical University 2.8% (1993-1997),
  • School Board 1.9% (1993-1997)
  • Latvian Agriculture University 1.4% (1996-1997)
  • Jugla Trade school 1.2% (1996-1997),
  • Liepaja Higher pedagogical school 1.1% (1995-1997),
  • Soros fund 1.2% (1994-1997),
  • British Council 0.7% (1993-1997),

Firm "Knauf" 0,8% (1996-1997),

Some of the interviewed persons participated also in courses organised by Entrepreneurship Support Centre, Adult Education Association, Adult Education Centre, Local government learning centre, Chamber of Commerce and Craft learning centre etc.

The most used organisation for upgrading of vocational school teachersí qualification is Professional Education Centre, which offers different courses for teachers from VET schools only. The topics of these courses are different Ė from school management, human resources management and psychology till new teaching methodologies and technology innovations.

The courses provided by Chamber of Craft are very popular among the teachers and trainers with higher non-pedagogical education and especially among those with secondary professional (videja speciala) education, because, according to a regulation of MoES, these graduates of training programmes at Chamber of Craft who are awarded qualification "master of (name of speciality)" in the sense of remuneration are made equal to teachers and trainers with higher education .

Legal basis, funding and governance

Which law(s) provide(s) the legal basis for the different types of TTT?

The educational system in Latvia is currently subject to the 1991 Law on Education and 1995 Law on higher educational Establishments. Different model regulations and regulations are subordinated to this law, however, there is very little concrete about TTT in these regulations, except clauses on teachersí rights to self-education and the duty of a school administration to support improvement of pedagogues qualification.

According to Law on Higher Education Establishments the existing State and State-recognised higher education institutions enjoy a wide autonomy. This regards all the research and teaching including also the programmes which could be attributed to TTT. Thus, in the case of Higher Education Institutions there is practically no direct state supervision/control.

More legislation is already in pipeline Ė The Education frame law, law on general Education and Law on VET. However it is not likely that the present Saeima (parliament) will manage to adopt them before the mandate is given to the newly elected Saeima in November. Thus, there is possible some delay in the adoption of these legal acts.

Different types of TTT.

How do the major laws and ordinances define the different types of TTT?

Are they, for example, part of the university sector, a distinct sector of non-university higher education, a sector of post-secondary education not being part of higher education or a completely separate sector?

As mentioned in 2.1. different types of TTT are not defined by the legislation. Currently they exist in various forms described in 1.2

Which ministries and other responsible bodies are responsible for the oversight of TTT?

The responsible body for VET TTT is not specified in the existing legislation. Thus, being responsible for the whole branch, Ministry of Education and Science is responsible also for VET TTT. However, this responsibility is general - general supervision and drafting of laws and cabinet regulations, issuing ordinances. On the other hand, the duties of various state institutions regarding teacher training are described in their Statutes, by-laws, regulations etc. However, again Ė very little (or nothing at all) is said about teacher training specifically for VET system. The Centre of Professional Education at MoES has a duty to organise upgrading courses for teachers and trainers, to co-ordinate development of teaching aids.

Establishment and accreditation of TTT.

What role do ministries and possibly other agencies play in the establishment and approval/accreditation of TTT course programmes?

If applicable, provide specific information not only according to type of training, but also according to type of establishment (national, other public, private, etc.).

All the Higher Education Institutions are overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science. However, one has to take into account that as regards Higher Education Institutions - role of the appropriate ministries is just an "oversight" rather than "supervision". The Ministry of Education and Science submits proposals (co-ordinating with the relevant branch ministry if necessary) to the Cabinet of Ministers for the establishment or reorganisation or liquidation of Higher Education Institutions.

MoES organises the quality assessment of Higher Education Institutions and their study programmes and the following accreditation of the above. This regards also the teacher training programmes, including the ones in which VET teachers are trained.

In higher education, the quality assessment is based upon a self-evaluation of the institution/programme . Self-study report is prepared by the institution and then forwarded to the experts-peers nominated by the Higher Education Council. An expert visit by international peers takes place after the experts have read the self-study report. According to the regulations, peer groups are formed in co-operation with the other two Baltic States. They normally consist of three experts and they should not contain more than one expert from Latvia. Western experts are involved wherever possible. The results of peer evaluation are forwarded to the Accreditation commission, which takes the decision. The difference in evaluation of academic and professional programmes lies in both selection of famous academics for academic programmes and high-level practitioners for professional ones) and in the different quality criteria applied. The process of accreditation is equal for both - state and private Higher Education Institution.

However, the accreditation regulations are not specific to teacher training programmes, not to say that there is nothing said about VET teacher training. The higher education quality assessment in Latvia begun in 1996 and all the programmes should be assessed once until the end of 2002. The time for assessment of teacher training programmes has come. Some of them are in the assessment process at present an most of the others will be assessed in 1999. Of course, experts in VET teaching field should be used at these assessments.

Supervision and autonomy of TTT institutions.

Please describe the key features of supervision on the one hand and autonomy and educational/academic freedom on the other hand of TTT institutions.

Regarding the higher education institutions. There is no differentiation between the autonomy of Higher Education Institutions. The following rights of higher education institutions are stipulated in the Law on Higher Education Establishment:

1) to work out and adopt the charter of the higher education institution, to hire personnel;

2) to define both the content and the form of studies,

3) to determine additional requirements for applicants,

4) to determine the main directions of research as well as the structure and organisation of their own administration,

5) to determine the remuneration of the staff,

6) to carry out all the other duties and rights stipulated in law.

The autonomy of higher education establishments is characterised by division of authority and responsibility among the state institutions and the administration of the higher education establishments, as well as between the administration of higher education establishment and academic personnel.

In fact, there is not too much direct state supervision to Higher Education institutions. The supervision is carried out mainly through the financing of HE programmes, through the Higher Education council, that is appointed by the Parliament and includes academics, social partners and high-ranking ministry officials but is not subordinated to the Minister of Ed. and Sci., and through the accreditation of programmes and institutions. As well, if necessary, the Minister of Ed. and Sci. may appoint a Convent of Advisors to a particular Higher Education Institution that would then include employers, graduates and state officials.

Regarding upgrading courses institutions under MoES (e.g. universities, Centre of Professional Education), as already mentioned, co-ordinate both education and course programmes in the ministry as they need funding. Other organisations (e.g. PHARE programmes, the British Council) can act more freely as TTT takes place within projects and an additional state funding is not necessary. In this case supervision has been carried out by the management of the concrete organisation.

Differences between initial training, continuing training and in-service training.

Please describe, if applicable, the differences between initial training of teachers/trainers at university/college sector, the continuing training of teachers and trainers in TTT institutions and the in-service training of teachers and trainers in terms of the following:


  • In higher education sector the present legislation does not foresee any differences between different higher education institutions. However, in practice there are differences in the realisation of academic and professional programmes:
  • staff appointment - for professional programmes professional experience and skills can be more important then academic awards and achievements at selection of staff;
  • potential employers and specialists from outside the higher education institutions are often involved in the curriculum development for professional study programmes (in contrary to the academic ones);
  • educational process comprises acquisition of practical skills alongside acquisition of theoretical knowledge in the professional programmes;
  • examinations commissions at the end of professional programmes always include representatives from the industries/professional associations working outside higher education institution; the graduation works elaborated by students are of a more practical rather than research character.

II. Institutional structure,

The management institutions of the Higher Education Institutions are:

  • Constituent Assembly;
  • Senate;
  • Rector;
  • Auditing Commission;
  • Court of Arbitration.

Constituent Assembly is determining the order of election of representation, management and decision making institutions of the higher education establishments as well as the order of appealing the adopted acts. Constituent Assembly is a collegial management and decision-making institution authorised by higher education establishment.

Constituent Assembly is elected, in secret voting, by professors and other academic personnel; students; representatives from other groups of staff.

Constituent Assembly adopts and changes Constitution of the higher education establishment; elects and dismisses the rector; elects the Senate, the Auditing Commission and the Court of Arbitration.

The Senate is the collegial management and decisive institution of personnel of the higher education establishments, which confirms the order and regulations of activities of the higher education establishments, including examining and final approval of the study programmes.

The Rector represents the official administrative management and without a special authorisation he represents the higher education establishment.

The rector is elected at the Constituentís Assembly for the period that does not exceed 5 years, but no more then 2 times successively.

The Cabinet of Ministers approves the rector upon proposal by the Minister of Education and Science.

The Auditing Commission inspects all the activities of the institution and its correspondence to legislation.

The Court of Arbitration considers the applications of students and academic staff referring the restrictions of academic freedom and violation of rights as well as the conflicts between the officials and administration institutions of structural units.

The main structural units of higher education institutions are faculties (departments), institutes, chairs, research laboratories and professorís groups. The structural units of the higher education establishment may have or may not have a status of a legal entity.

  • general administration,
  • financial administration,

The higher education programmes are financed by two sources - from the state budget and from the tuition fees. In state higher education establishments - the state budget makes 80%, 15% - study fees, 5% - other income. The income of private higher educational institutions mainly consists of the studentsí tuition fees formed and other income. The State-recognised private higher institutions get limited subsidies from the Government at the present.

  • staff appointment and supervision.

No clear differences can be indicated.

  • establishment of course programmes and curricula.

A Regulation of the Minister of Education and science exists regarding the contents of teacher training programmes (again-all teacher training programmes). However, due to institutional autonomy the Regulation in principle is not binding to HEI. However, in most cases the latter tend to follow the regulation when designing teacher training programmes.

  • educational processes and teaching methods etc..

No clear differences can be indicated. except that teacher training programmes contain a certain amount of pedagogical practice.

  • examination and award of diplomas or degrees.

Regarding the teacher training programmes (not specifically VET TTT) the final examinations normally contain an examination in pedagogy and psychology and a one in the contents of the subject to be taught.

Some teacher training programmes are purely professional and lead to a "diploms par profesionalo izglitibu" others integrate an academic course and lead to award of both professional qualification and a Bachelor degree.

  • others major areas.

As it is mentioned above, for obvious reasons initial VET TTT programmes so far practically donít exist in Latvia (please refer to point1.2.) although attempts to create those have been made. There are university teacher training programmes common for all kinds of teachers at secondary school level.

Some universities provide continuing training courses for vocational school staff without pedagogical qualification. The most popular is Riga Technical University. Since 1994 RTU carries out programmes for teachers and trainers who work at VET schools without a pedagogical qualification and awards pedagogical qualifications to the graduates of these programmes. As well, continuing education programmes are carried out by other universitiesĖ Latvia University, Daugavpils Pedagogical University, Liepaja Higher Pedagogical School and Latvia University of Agriculture.

The Professional Education Centre carries out training programmes for teachers, and issues certificates that indicate topic of the courses and number of contact hours. The length of such courses usually is between some hours and one week.

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