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Former official: part of education reforms will likely end up politically delayed

Evija Papule/flickr.com.
Education and Science Ministry currently lacks the capacity to complete all of its planned reforms. In addition, some of those reforms will likely end up politically delayed, former director of the ministry’s Education Department and deputy state secretary Evija Papule told Latvijas Avīze.

According to Papule, amendments about sixth-graders will be put off for some time in the current political situation. She also worries if the entire education content reform may be at risk because of that. «The risk is rather high. Introduction of new content will have to be postponed. Still, it is important for work to get done – content development is almost finished and pedagogical and public thought is being formed in the direction that changes are needed.»

«There is currently one major change planned for education: the content reform. Now is the last chance to perform it. There rest is either ready or linked to it, including the language reform,» said the former official.

Papule criticized the fact that many decisions about reform were made in a convulsive manner. «When making decisions, it is important to know that they will be realized. At least three steps in advance should be clear. It is also necessary to speak with partners and the ones responsible for realization of changes. If discussions are not help prior to making decisions, it is necessary to hold discussions after, when it is possible. Schools have knowledgeable directors and teachers, but they feel abandoned and threatened. Had they been talked to ahead of time, it would have been possible to jointly develop an action plan. Now it looks more that the ministry makes a decision to be realized by schools. Basically this comes down to: this is your problem now, so do what you want as long as you realize our plan.»

«Political decisions rarely have a clearly-defined plan. This can be so as long as the minister can rely on a capable institution to do all the work. But this is not the case right now. It is clear that it is no more than the first step,» Papule continues.

The former official has noticed that any changes in education are politicized even though many matters there should be entrusted to professionals. Politicians are the ones who approve the regulatory foundation. The decision itself has to be made by professionals. Experience shows that the best decisions come from professional discussions, not political ones. The political level focuses on vote-counting: can or can we not force through. This is not enough to make sustainable decisions, said Papule.


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