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Lec Stanislaw Jerzy
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Number of students in Latvia declined 35% in the past decade

Photo: pixabay.com.
The number of students accounted for 81.6 thousand in the academic year 2017/2018, indicating a decline of 1.6 % over the year. During the past decade, due to the population decline, the number of students has reduced by 43.8 thousand or 35 %.

In this academic year, 27.1 thousand students entered in higher education institutions of Latvia, which is 5 % less than a year ago, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

As usual, majority of the new entrants (43 %) chose social sciences and humanities. In the same time, the number of engineering and life sciences programme entrants fell by 8.2 %. Out of the total number of entrants, females accounted for 15.2 thousand or 55.9 %. Studies of more than a half of the entrants (55.4 %) were non-subsidised, and studies of 44.6 % of students were state-subsidised.

The number of higher education institutions constitutes 54 – 29 universities and 25 colleges, which is 4 institutions fewer than a year before. Social sciences and humanities still are the most popular education fields and were chosen by 42.1 % of the students, however, 24.9 % of students chose engineering and life sciences. In this academic year, enrolment in health and welfare programmes grew by 3.2 %.

The number of graduates keeps declining sharply – since 2010 it has reduced almost twice. In 2017, higher education was acquired (completed) by 14.6 thousand students, which is 7.7 % less than in 2016. Females accounted for 9.3 thousand or 63.5 % of the number.

Meanwhile, the number of mobile students (those who acquired previous education abroad) rose significantly over the year. Currently there are 7.6 thousand mobile students, which is 23.4 % more than a year ago. Unlike among Latvian students, majority of them (63.7 %) are males.

Number of vocational school entrants dropped by 7 %

In the school year 2017/2018, 28.5 thousand students are studying in vocational education institutions – 1.5 % less than prior. Vocational education is provided by 46 vocational schools (five schools less than a year ago) and 11 colleges. Engineering and services are the most popular fields of education – chosen by 35.4 % and 25.4 % of the vocational students, respectively.

After the significant increase in 2016, at the beginning of this school year the number of vocational school entrants declined notably. Studies were entered by 11.6 thousand students, which is 7 % less than before. The sharpest drop – of 14.3 % – was observed in social sciences, followed by 9.5 % in services and 8 % in engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Just like the year before, also in 2017 vocational education was acquired (completed) by 7.8 thousand students. Out of the number, 35.2 % graduated from engineering, manufacturing and construction programmes, and 26.4 % from services programmes.


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