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Half of Latvia’s schools do not meet minimal requirements of new school reform

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Latvia’s Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska says that schools that fail to meet necessary criteria could be reorganized. At the same time the minister stressed the role of municipalities as founders of schools.


After a meeting of coalition parties’ representatives 14 May the politician once again stressed that nearly half of the 640 schools in Latvia do not meet the minimal criterion for the number of attending children. She explained that some of the schools that do not meet the set criteria are located in Riga. Reorganization would mean reducing schools’ education degree: going from secondary school to primary school or from primary school to elementary school.
 

Reorganization will not happen automatically and municipalities are currently hard at work assessing efficiency. If no efficiency assessment and other measures are not performed, it will be necessary to act in accordance with regulations that will come to force 2020, said the minister.
 

Commenting on the government’s report on sorting of the country’s school network, the minister said that people often look at things through a «black and white» spectrum, adding that it is necessary to have a more nuanced look at the situation.
 

Education and Science Ministry has developed four regional blocks, each with a different criterion for the number of attending children.
 

One of the regional blocks includes Latvian cities with at least 50,000 residents. This means this block would include Riga, Daugavpils, Liepaja and Jelgava.
 

Primary schools (1-6 class) in this block would need to have at least 400 children attending. This means it will be necessary to have three parallel classes with an average of 22 children in each. Middle schools will have to have at least 450 attending children, securing two parallel classes with an average of 25 children in each. Secondary schools (10-12 class) will have to have at least 150 attending children, with an average of 25 children in each class.
 

The next group consists of administrative territories development centres. The minimal number of children attending elementary schools there is planned to be set at 300 children – 25 in a class and two parallel classes. The number of children attending primary schools should be at least 360 with 20 children in a class and two parallel classes. For middle school stage, the number of parallel classes is to be two with at least 20 children in each.
 

The third regional block includes parish territories. The minimal number of children in elementary schools there could reach 35 with an average of six children in a class. These elementary schools would have to work as branches of other education institution with a separate administration, support personnel. Additionally, they would have to implement pre-school education programmes. The minimal number of children attending primary schools should be 80 with an average of nine children in a class. Middle schools should have at least 45 attending children or an average 15 in a class.
 

The last group includes territories close to EU external borders, as well as territories in which the distance to the nearest education institution is at least 25 km. Elementary schools should have at least 15 children in the first three classes with at least five children in a single class. These schools would also function as branches of other education institutions without a separate administration and support personnel. They would also have to implement pre-school education programmes. Primary schools would have at least 70 attending children, with an average least eight children in a single class.

BNN/LETA

14-05-2019
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