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General themes

VET ([1]In the education system and policy of Latvia VET is referred to as ‘vocational education’ (in Latvian: ‘profesionālā izglītība’). The term ‘training’ is not commonly used in the national context.) in Latvia comprises the following main features:

  • VET attractiveness is increasing, especially for early leavers from education;
  • to increase the quality and efficiency of vocational education, many small providers were merged into regional vocational education competence centres offering a wide range of qualifications and other services;
  • there are more females in post-secondary and higher VET;
  • the share of early leavers from education and training has fallen substantially, in line with the national target;
  • apprenticeship-type schemes have become more common and accessible;
  • the introduction of modular vocational education programmes, new occupational standards, sectoral qualifications frameworks supports the use of learning outcomes.

Distinctive features ([2]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Latvia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8107_en.pdf
)

Initial VET is centralised and highly regulated by the State. Most vocational schools are owned and run by the State; two-thirds have the status of vocational education competence centre and were modernised (infrastructure and equipment) with the support of EU funds in 2007-15. In addition to provision of vocational programmes, they validate non-formal and informal learning and offer lifelong learning and continuing teacher training.

CVET providers are mainly private.

Most vocational education learners (83%) are at upper secondary level. The distribution of students between general and vocational upper secondary education is 61:39 in favour of general education.

VET provides learning opportunities for young adults and early leavers from education. With more investment in infrastructure and the development/implementation of new programmes, VET attractiveness is increasing. More young people use ISCED-P 453 programmes for fast access to labour market than before. These programmes are jointly financed by the Youth guarantee and the European Social Fund.

The national qualifications framework was established in 2010 and referenced to the European qualifications framework (EQF) in 2011. It includes all formal qualifications.

A validation system for professional competences acquired outside formal education has existed since 2011, allowing direct acquisition of professional qualifications at EQF levels 2 to 4. Procedures for assessment and criteria for validation of prior learning were set up for higher education in 2012.

Reforming VET and adult learning are national policy priorities. Recent reforms aim at:

  • promoting VET quality;
  • ensuring its relevance to labour market needs;
  • efficient use of resources to raise VET attractiveness.

Policy strives for a balanced (equal) distribution of students choosing vocational and general education after completing basic education, and for a threefold increase in adult participation in learning.

By 2015, several projects jointly financed by EU Structural Funds had raised VET attractiveness and quality. The projects covered modern infrastructure, equipment and programmes (introducing modules), social partner participation in designing and implementing education policy, introducing sectoral qualifications frameworks, drafting occupational standards for key professions, and raising VET teachers’ competences. Modularisation of vocational education programmes has acquired a legal basis. Content for modular programmes is developed and they are gradually being implemented in vocational education. By 2019/20 all vocational education providers (State and private) have to ensure modular (if applicable) vocational education programmes according to the new occupational standards.

Since 2015, ‘work-based learning’ has been a form of VET implementation. It includes flexible curricula (according to occupation characteristics) and promotes sharing responsibilities of teaching and training between school and enterprises. Vocational education institutions develop the curricula and participate in ensuring the acquisition of theoretical knowledge and practical skills in workshops. Companies provide both theoretical and practical training in a real workplace environment and pay an allowance or a wage to students.

Ensuring access to guidance and counselling for young people, and putting in place ECVET and EQAVET systems for better quality and permeability, are challenges that need aligning stakeholder opinions and extensive promotion. Other challenges include motivating employers to cooperate with VET providers, for example, by offering training at the workplace and promoting continuing training for employees.

The 2014-20 education strategy addresses issues mentioned above and other challenges by continuing reforms (supported by EU funds) including introduction of new EU-level instruments.

Another challenge is to increase adult participation in learning by strengthening the role of the State in adult education. The implementation plan for a new adult education governance model (2016) supports a sustainable adult education system with shared responsibilities between stakeholders, including VET that provides programmes for adults.

Data from VET in Latvia Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Latvia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8107_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019

Population in 2018: 1 934 379 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 4.4% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and emigration of people in search of employment abroad ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 30 in 2015 to 66 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and have led to rearrangement of the vocational education institutions network: the number of State governed vocational schools has reduced from 58 in 2010 to 21 in 2018.

To increase the quality and efficiency of vocational education, many small providers were merged into regional vocational education competence centres offering a wide range of qualifications and other services. Several providers were merged by local governments into integrated general and vocational education institutions.

The country has a multicultural community. At the beginning of 2018, 62.2% of the population were Latvians and 25.2% were ethnic Russians; 3.2% were Belarusians, 2.2% were Ukrainians, 2.1% were Poles and 5.1% other nationalities.

State vocational school programmes are in Latvian, while some private providers use Russian or both Latvian and Russian. By 2020 all providers will provide vocational programmes in Latvian only.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

  • wood-processing;
  • production of chemical products;
  • electrical and optical equipment;
  • manufacture of basic metals;
  • machinery and equipment manufacturing;
  • manufacture of transport and equipment.

Since 2010, the export of Latvian goods and services has grown very quickly, and it is the main driver of economic development.

Domestic demand-oriented industries contributed the most to GDP growth in recent years.

Requirements for non-regulated professions are determined by employers. The Law on Regulated Professions and Recognition of Professional Qualifications and relevant government regulations stipulate special requirements for education programmes, recertification or recognition of qualifications in regulated professions.

The number of regulated professions acquired in secondary vocational education is very limited.

The labour market is generally considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 7.1% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([8]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis and has been steady since then. In 2018, there are stark differences between the different ISCED levels. The unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), is almost three times higher than that of people with high-level qualifications (ISCED 5-8), and almost double that of the pre-crisis years. It is also higher compared to the total unemployment rate ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Latvia (7.1%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 78.0% in 2014 to 83.3% in 2018 ([10]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase in employment of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 (+5.3 pp) was similar to the increase in employment of all 20 to 34 year-old graduates (+5.5 pp) in the same period in Latvia ([11]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education attainment in Latvia is traditionally high. In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 56.7%.

The share of people with tertiary education (33.9%) is higher than EU-28 average (32.2%). The share of those with low or without a qualification is the fifth lowest in the EU, following Lithuania, Czechia, Poland and Slovakia.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

0.6%

38.6%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (58.8% in upper-secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([12]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [accessed 18.2.2019].).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.3% in 2009 to 8.3% in 2018. It is below the national objective for 2020 of not more than 10% and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted on 16.5.2019]

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Latvia has increased from 5.6% in 2014 to 6.7% in 2018. It is still below the EU average and far below the national objective (15%) for 2020.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: National data.

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in vocational education has doubled since 2011/12 and reached 12% of the total VET population in 2017/18. This reflects changing labour market needs and the variety of education opportunities for people aged 25+, supported by ESF funds.

The education system comprises:

  • pre-school education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) (hereafter, basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) (hereafter, secondary education);
  • higher (tertiary) education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Pre-school education for five to six year-old children is compulsory.

Basic education is mainly general, it is compulsory, and lasts for nine years. Vocational education is mainly offered for learners with mental disabilities or without completed basic education.

Secondary education can be acquired through general or vocational programmes. It is non-compulsory. General programmes last for three years and vocational programmes for four years (after completed basic education).

Higher (tertiary) education includes both academic and professional study programmes.

The Vocational Education Law ([13]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244 
) provides legal regulations and defines three VET levels:

  • basic vocational education;
  • secondary vocational education;
  • professional higher education.

 

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula implementation taking place alternately at school and enterprise. To acquire a professional qualification (at EQF levels 2 to 4), learners have to undergo qualification practice and take a State qualification exam at the end of the programme.

Basic vocational education

Basic vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 2 (ISCED 254)

These programmes last from one to three years and are part of formal education. The main target groups are learners with intellectual disability and early leavers from compulsory basic education. They lead to a certificate of basic vocational education with a professional qualification at EQF level 2 (such as cook’s assistant, carpenter's assistant).

Vocational education at secondary level

There are four types of secondary vocational education programme.

1) Vocational education programmes (arodizglītība) leading to EQF level 3 (ISCED 353).

These programmes last for three years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people who are at least 15 and have completed basic education. They include general subjects, but not sufficiently to allow access to higher education. To access higher education programmes, students must attend a one-year bridging course.

2) Secondary vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 4 (ISCED 354).

These programmes last for four years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people with completed basic education. They include general subjects; at the end of programme students take four State centralised exams in general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market or higher education.

3) One-year vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 3 (ISCED 351 or 453)

These programmes last for one year. They are part of formal education, and they target young people who are at least 17 and have completed general basic education. They do not include general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market.

4) One and a half to three-year vocational secondary education programmes leading to EQF level 4 (ISCED 453)

These programmes last for one and a half to three years. They are part of formal education, and they target young people with secondary education. They do not include general subjects. After completion of the programme, learners can enter the labour market.

Professional higher education

Higher education programmes can be academic (lead to a degree) and professional (lead to a degree and/or professional qualification).

Adult learning programmes

There are two types of adult learning programme:

1) Continuing vocational education

These programmes enable adults with previous education/work experience to acquire a professional qualification ([14]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education Law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) in 480 to 1280 hours. Continuing vocational education and initial vocational education have the same legal and governance framework. Similar to initial vocational education, students of continuing vocational education take a final qualification exam in accordance with procedures approved by the government ([15]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
).

2) Professional development programmes

These programmes (of at least 160 hours) enable people to master systematised professional knowledge and skills corresponding to labour market requirements. They do not have age, previous education, or professional qualification requirements. They do not lead to a formal qualification, but to a certificate of professional development education (profesionālās pilnveides izglītības apliecība) ([16]Cabinet of Ministers (2005b). Kārtība, kādā izsniedzami profesionālās pilnveides un profesionālās ievirzes izglītību apliecinoši dokumenti [Procedures by which documents certifying professional development and professionally oriented education are issued]. Regulation No 902. Last amended 13.12.2016, No 777.
https://likumi.lv/doc.php?mode=DOC&id=122686
).

Other forms of learning

Work-related knowledge, skills and competences can also be acquired through non-formal learning (short courses), or craftsmanship (apprenticeship programmes).

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise. To acquire a qualification (at EQF levels 2 to 4), learners have to undergo qualification practice and take a State exam at the end of the programme.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

Most vocational education providers are governed by the Ministry of Education and Science. Others are under the responsibility of the ministries of culture, welfare and interior. There are also vocational education institutions established (or taken over from the State) by local government and private ones.

The vocational education system is governed by the following institutions:

  • The Cabinet of Ministers (Ministru kabinets) defines policies and strategies for vocational education and sets procedures for the development of occupational standards, the organisation of work placements/apprenticeship-type scheme, and professional qualification exams. It regulates mandatory documents for vocational education provision, a list of mandatory occupational standards, activities of sectoral expert councils, and the quality assurance of the examination centre. It sets the criteria for issuing State-recognised qualifications, and recognising foreign qualifications.

It sets the price list for validation of informal and non-formal learning, it grants the status of ‘vocational education competence centre’ to providers, and it sets the procedure for distributing the State budget subsidies earmarked for teachers’ salaries.

  • The Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) ([17]Izglītības un zinātnes ministrija
    ) develops the framework regulations for vocational education. It proposes allocation of funds from the State budget and finances the vocational education providers it has established. The ministry also organises the implementation of career education, ensures validation of informal and non-formal learning, approves regulations and appoints heads of vocational education institutions under its responsibility.
  • Other ministries (culture, welfare and interior) propose the allocation of funds for vocational schools under their responsibility, and organise continuing professional development for teachers. The ministries also organise continuing vocational education for adults, and professional development and training for the unemployed. They cooperate with MoES on designing occupational standards, ensuring quality assurance and other issues.
  • The National Centre for Education ([18]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).) is under the supervision of MoES. It develops the content of basic, secondary and continuing vocational education, professional development and vocationally oriented education. It develops the content and procedures for State exams and coordinates development of study materials in line with the State vocational education standards. The centre also coordinates the development of occupational standards and the professional development of vocational teachers.
  • The State Education Quality Service ([19]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) is under the supervision of MoES. It licenses general and vocational education programmes (at EQF level 1-4). It also ensures quality assurance of vocational education (except professional higher), coordinates validation of informal and non-formal learning (at EQF level 2-4); since 2013 it has coordinated the implementation of the common European quality assurance for VET (EQAVET) in Latvia.
  • The State Education Development Agency ([20]Valsts izglītības attīstības aģentūra (VIAA).) is under the supervision of MoES. It manages and monitors EU funds ex-post, it introduces EU programmes, it supports the development of career education policy, arranges national-level professional skills competitions and ensures participation in international competitions.
  • The Ministry of Welfare ([21]Labklājības ministrija (Ministry of Welfare).) develops labour market policies, including training interventions.
  • The State Employment Agency ([22]Nodarbinātības valsts aģentūra (NVA).) is under the supervision of the Ministry of Welfare. It implements labour market policies, including programmes for the unemployed.
  • Local governments participate in the implementation of vocational education by managing their own schools. They promote business development in their territory, cooperate with employer organisations and help students find work placements.

Social dialogue and strategic cooperation are arranged through the following institutions:

  • the National Tripartite Subcouncil for Cooperation in Vocational Education and Employment ([23]Profesionālās izglītības un nodarbinātības trīspusējās sadarbības apakšpadome. It was founded in 2000 by the ministries of welfare, economy, finance, justice, agriculture, education and science, regional development and local government affairs, the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia and the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia.) reviews policy proposals and drafts legal norms for vocational education, human resource development and employment; it evaluates and proposes changes in management, funding and implementation of vocational education; it endorses occupational standards; it endorses annual student enrolment plans prepared by sectoral expert councils.
  • 12 sectoral expert councils (Nozaru ekspertu padomes) propose solutions for long-term human resources development in their respective sectors and ensure that vocational education provision is in line with labour market needs. This includes participation in development of sectoral qualifications frameworks (SQFs), occupational standards, education programmes, quality assessment procedures, work placements, and apprenticeship-type schemes;
  • collegial advisory bodies (conventions) exist in each vocational education institution. Employers or representatives of employers’ organisations, representatives from local government, and representatives from supervising ministries form these conventions. They help shape the development strategy of the education institution, and they contribute to its cooperation with local enterprises, to ensure students’ work placements outside school and apprenticeship-type scheme opportunities ([24]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.06.2017.
    http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
    ).

According to Eurostat data, the education budget has decreased from 6.7% of GDP in 2009 to 5.5% in 2016, with a slight increase to 5.8% in 2017 ([25]Eurostat table gov_10a_exp. Last update: 16.5.2018.). The budget for vocational education institutions under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science increased from EUR 54.07 million in 2011 to EUR 70.36 million in 2018 ([26]Saeima (2017). Par valsts budžetu 2018.gadam [Law on State budget for 2018].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/295569-par-valsts-budzetu-2018-gadam
).

Other resources (including EU funds) have also been allocated to development of the vocational education system. For example, during 2009 to 2015, EUR 163.6 million was invested in the modernisation of equipment and infrastructure. For the same objective, EUR 89.07 million is being invested over 2016 to 2023. Schools also use their own revenues to finance their activities.

Procedures for financing vocational education are stipulated by the Education and Vocational Education Laws ([27]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20. 9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759; Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational Education Law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
). Education institutions are financed from the State budget, local government budget or private funding according to their ownership. State budget allocations for vocational education programmes are calculated per student.

Salaries of teachers in State and local government education institutions (including pre-schools) are paid from the State budget. Local governments may supplement salaries of teachers. For private schools implementing accredited basic, secondary and higher education programmes the State can also finance salaries of teachers.

The government covers fixed and non-fixed costs ([28]Cabinet of Ministers (2007). Noteikumi par profesionālās izglītības programmu īstenošanas izmaksu minimumu uz vienu izglītojamo [Regulations on expenditures minimum per one student for implementing vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 655 (last amended 3.1.2017, No 4).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=164266
):

  • allowances (scholarships);
  • student residence maintenance;
  • rehabilitation and catering services for students with special needs;
  • culture education and sports activities;
  • practical training in enterprises;
  • accident insurance for practical training in enterprises;
  • salary of employees (wages and employer's State social insurance contributions).

In higher education, the State covers fees for a certain number of negotiated study places for students with good grades. Local governments may charge a fee in municipal sports and music vocational schools. Education institutions may simultaneously implement education programmes funded from different sources.

According to the Education Law ([29]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759
), adult education may be financed from the State and local government budgets, employers’ resources, students’ fees, donations and other sources. Some local governments allocate a fixed percentage to adult education from their budget.

Important sources of funding are EU, Norwegian, and Swiss financial assistance instruments, including Structural Funds and Erasmus+ that have helped by creating more learning opportunities for adults through various projects.

In vocational education there are:

  • general subject teachers
  • vocational teachers

The term ‘trainer’ is not used in Latvian vocational education. Teachers provide both theory and practical learning at school. Every vocational education teacher can work in initial and continuing vocational education at basic and secondary education levels.

General subject teachers must have a minimum of either:

  • tertiary education in education and a teaching qualification in the particular subject, or master/doctor degree in education;
  • tertiary education in the relevant field and either a teaching qualification in a particular subject (may be in the process of completing) or working under the supervision of a teacher-mentor for no longer than one year at one school (until 2022).

Vocational teachers must have a professional qualification minimum of either tertiary education in a relevant field (such as engineering) or may be in the process of completing studies (have acquired at least 240 hours), vocational secondary education (EQF level 4), or master of crafts qualification.

Their professional qualification must be complemented by teaching competences acquired in:

  • tertiary teacher education;
  • a teaching-competence development course (72 hours offered by a higher education institution);
  • courses in pedagogy of at least 80 hours in their tertiary education programme.

The requirement for teaching competences does not apply to vocational subject teachers with fewer than 360 teaching hours per year.

Vocational education teachers:

  • implement education programmes according to State vocational education standards, and occupational standards and foster creativity and independence of learners;
  • develop syllabi (to be approved by heads of vocational education institutions);
  • apply new ideas, technologies and methods in the learning process;
  • assess knowledge and skills of learners.

In-company trainers involved in providing an apprenticeship-type scheme must have (as of January 2019) a master of crafts qualification, vocational education or at least three years of relevant work experience. They must also have acquired a 72-hour teaching competence-development course (for teaching in schools) or a special 32-hour teaching competence-development course for in-company trainers of apprenticeships ([30]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Kārtība, kādā organizē un īsteno darba vidē balstītas mācības [Procedure for organization and implementation of work-based learning]. Regulation No 484. Last amended 12.9.2017.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/283680-kartiba-kada-organize-un-isteno-darba-vide-balstitas-macibas
).

With the decrease in vocational education institutions since 2010/11, the number of vocational education teachers has decreased by 12%. At the same time, the share of teachers with tertiary education increased from 91% to 93% ([31]For more information see: Daija, Z.; Kinta, G.; Ramina, B. (2016). Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of vocational education and training: mapping their professional development in the EU – Latvia. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_LV_TT.pdf).

The regulations on teachers’ education and professional competences development ([32]Cabinet of Ministers (2018). Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr.569, 2018.gada 11.septembrī ‘Noteikumi par pedagogiem nepieciešamo izglītību un profesionālo kvalifikāciju un pedagogu profesionālās kompetences pilnveides kārtību’ [Regulations on required teachers’ education and professional qualification and procedure of teachers’ professional competences development].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301572-noteikumi-par-pedagogiem-nepieciesamo-izglitibu-un-profesionalo-kvalifikaciju-un-pedagogu-profesionalas-kompetences-pilnveides-...
), adopted in 2014, determine that vocational education teachers should regularly improve their competence through continuing professional development.

Teachers are required to undertake at least 36 hours of continuing professional development every three years. Education institutions register teachers’ continuing professional development in the database of the State Education Information System (hosted by the Ministry of Education and Science).

The Cabinet Regulations ([33]Cabinet of Ministers (2018). Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr.569, 2018.gada 11.septembrī ‘Noteikumi par pedagogiem nepieciešamo izglītību un profesionālo kvalifikāciju un pedagogu profesionālās kompetences pilnveides kārtību’ [Regulations on required teachers’ education and professional qualification and procedure of teachers’ professional competences development].
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301572-noteikumi-par-pedagogiem-nepieciesamo-izglitibu-un-profesionalo-kvalifikaciju-un-pedagogu-profesionalas-kompetences-pilnveides-...
) set the framework of two types of competence development programme:

  • 72-hour programmes which award a certificate in pedagogy, teacher career consultant certificate or right to implement a vocational education subject module.
  • 160-hour programmes which award a teacher's certificate for another subject.

Professional competence development of vocational education teachers is mainly provided by the National Centre for Education ([34]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).), which is subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science.

There is no evidence on the attractiveness of teaching as an occupation; however, ageing of teachers is observed.

Responsibility for providing labour market forecasts rests with the Ministry of Economics ([35]Ekonomikas ministrija.), which updates reports every other year and the State Employment Agency that updates reports anually ([36]Nodarbinātības valsts aģentūra (NVA).).

The Ministry of Economics produces annual medium- and long-term forecasts. It set up an advisory council for labour market forecasting ([37]Darba tirgus prognozēšanas konsultatīvā padome.), i.e. a platform for dialogue between representatives of the State, employers, employees and local governments.

The annual report with medium- and long-term labour market forecasts ([38]Ministry of Economics (2018). Informatīvais ziņojums ar darba tirgus vidēja un ilgtermiņa prognozēm [Informative report on medium- and long-term labour market forecasts].
https://www.em.gov.lv/files/attachments/DarbaTirgusPrognozes_2018_06_27.pdf and
https://www.em.gov.lv/files/tautsaimniecibas_attistiba/dsp/EMZino_06072018_full.pdf
) includes an overview of labour supply and demand, and education areas, levels and progression routes of the labour force (including vocational education). The Ministry of Education and Science uses the data as well as annual proposals of sectoral expert councils to plan vocational education provision, including numbers of potential students and types of programmes.

The State Employment Agency carries out short-term labour market forecasts and has created a corresponding online tool ([39]https://cvvp.nva.gov.lv/#/pub/pakalpojumi/prognozes/). It also conducts employer express surveys once a year to anticipate changes in the structure of the labour force. The surveys aim at clarifying reasons for changes in demand and supply for occupations. Their results are used to adjust the education offer for the unemployed.

In 2016, the State Employment Agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economics, started a national level ESF project Development of labour market forecasting system (2016-21). The system will provide information on skills and professions in the short-, medium- and long-term, as well as information on learning opportunities. Active labour market policy measures will be evaluated and the offer of vocational education programmes will be based on the outcomes of skills forecasts. Currently, work is under way to develop guidelines for the interpretation and practical use of medium and long-term job forecasts. The guidelines’ main target audience is career advisors and education providers, and their development is based on the needs of forecasting users.

The Central Statistical Bureau ([40]Centrālā statistikas pārvalde (CSB).) conducts a labour force survey four times per year and collects data on education levels, employment by type of economic activity and occupation. Data on higher education institutions’ and vocational education provider graduates is collected by the institutions themselves and submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science and to the Central Statistical Bureau for further analysis and publication.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([41]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([42]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Vocational education programmes are designed in line with the State education and occupational standards or qualification requirements (if the occupation does not have a standard), and sectoral qualifications frameworks.

The content of vocational education programmes is defined by State vocational education standards ([43]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19. 9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
). The standards include strategic aims, basic principles, mandatory content, ratio of theory and practice and evaluation procedures. Vocational education providers also ensure that specific skills and competences required in the occupational standards/professional qualification requirements are included in the programmes they offer.

Occupational standards and professional qualification requirements are elaborated by designated working groups comprising representatives of ministries, local governments, employers, employees, chamber of commerce and industry, NGOs and vocational education providers. The standards are endorsed by the National Tripartite Subcouncil for Cooperation in Vocational Education and Employment. They are reviewed at least once every five years ([44]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
).

Since 2007, occupational standards have to include necessary professional competences, skills, and knowledge to perform professional activities. In 2010-15, key occupational standards in 14 sectors were aligned with recent labour market needs and this process is continuing in 2016-21 using ESF support.

In April 2018, 15 sectoral qualifications frameworks were officially approved, marking an agreement between educators and employers on qualifications required by labour market ([45]Cedefop (2018). Latvia: sectoral qualifications frameworks support vocational education development.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/latvia-sectoral-qualifications-frameworks-support-vocational-education-development [accessed 10.8.2018].
). The sectoral qualifications frameworks serve as guidelines for developing occupational standards and implementing vocational education programmes, including modules leading to specialisations.

The new modular approach for vocational education programmes ([46]Cedefop (2013). Latvia – modularisation of VET and work-based learning.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/latvia-modularisation-vet-and-work-based-learning
) includes use of learning outcomes, relevant teaching/learning methods and indicators of achievement. In 2017, the amendments to the Vocational Education Law ([47]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) set the legal framework for the modularisation of vocational education programmes. Modules are defined as parts of professional qualifications and are based on learning outcomes as an assessed and approved set of knowledge, skills and competences. Modular vocational education programmes lead to qualifications at EQF levels 2-4 and their professional content consists of a set of modules. After completing one or several modules recognisable in the labour market, but not proving acquisition of a qualification, vocational schools will have to issue a new type of certificate indicating the programme, module(s), achieved learning outcomes and their assessment. In 2017, modules have been included in the State vocational education standards ([48]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
).

Qualification exams ([49]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) that consist of theoretical and practical parts are designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for policies and strategies to ensure accessibility and quality of education.

Quality is assured through:

  • elaboration of education policy;
  • registration and accreditation of education providers;
  • licensing and accreditation of education programmes;
  • supervising the education process.

The further development of the quality monitoring system is among the priorities of vocational education policy. A principle of accreditation ensures that each programme’s content meets required standards of vocational education provided by public (State, local government) and private institutions ([50]Cabinet of Ministers (2016e). Noteikumi Nr. 831 ‘Kārtība, kādā akreditē izglītības iestādes, eksaminācijas centrus un citas Izglītības likumā noteiktās institūcijas, vispārējās un profesionālās izglītības programmas un novērtē valsts augstskolu vidējās izglītības iestāžu, valsts un pašvaldību izglītības iestāžu vadītāju profesionālo darbību’ [Procedure for accrediting education institutions and examination centres, accrediting general and vocational education programmes, and evaluating professional work of heads of public education institutions]. Regulation No 831. Last amended 18.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/287602-kartiba-kada-akredite-izglitibas-iestades-eksaminacijas-centrus-un-citas-izglitibas-likuma-noteiktas-institucijas
). It also increases the transparency of education provision, and fosters recognition of Latvian qualifications abroad.

The State Education Quality Service ([51]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) organises licensing and accreditation of vocational education programmes, and accreditation of vocational education providers and examination centres ([52]Examination centre is an accredited commercial company or association in arranging professional qualification exams, which does not implement education programmes.) of State, local government and private entities. A licence is a permission to implement a particular programme that meets all requirements of State education and occupational standards or professional qualification requirements. Providers must ensure proper infrastructure and equipment and, if necessary, obtain an agreement from the relevant professional association. The State Education Quality Service issues a licence for an indefinite period.

Accreditation is the evaluation of the performance of the relevant education provider and/or the quality of implementation of the education programme. As a result of accreditation, an education provider obtains a right for two to six years to issue a State recognised qualification for a particular programme. During the accreditation process, the quality of the implementation of an education programme is evaluated against criteria aligned to EQAVET. For example, when accrediting vocational education programmes (EQF levels 2-4), the following areas of criteria are assessed:

  • content of education – education programmes implemented by institution;
  • teaching and learning;
  • learners’ achievements;
  • support to learners;
  • environment of institution;
  • resources of institution;
  • work organisation, management and quality assurance of institution.

All public continuing vocational education programmes (480 hours or more) and professional development programmes (160 hours or more) must be licensed and accredited by the State Education Quality Service. Providers of professional development programmes (159 hours or less) must obtain a licence from local government. Public providers can offer non-formal learning programmes without a licence.

During the licensing or accreditation process, the State Education Quality Service hires external experts and representatives of sectoral NGOs and employers to evaluate programme compliance with State education standards, occupational standards or professional qualification requirements and other regulations. All experts have specific knowledge of the accreditation process.

The National Centre for Education ([53]Valsts izglītības satura centrs (VISC).) ensures the development of content for vocational education (except higher education) in compliance with the State vocational education standards. It also ensures development and implementation of uniform content for vocational education State examinations, coordinates development of teaching/learning aids complying with State general and vocational education standards, and coordinates teachers’ professional development.

The Higher Education Council ([54]Augstākās izglītības padome.) is responsible for quality assurance of higher (including professional) education. The council takes decisions on accreditation of higher education institutions in general and submits them to the Ministry of Education and Science for approval.

Since 2012, study fields (including all programmes of the same field) undergo joint quality assurance. From 2015, quality assurance of higher education institutions/colleges and study fields, and licensing of study programmes is organised by Higher Education Quality Agency ([55]Augstākās izglītības kvalitātes aģentūra (AIKA).), a department within the Academic Information Centre ([56]Akadēmiskās informācijas centrs (AIC).).

The Academic Information Centre develops and complies with the methodologies and procedures for external quality assessment of higher education institutions/colleges and study fields in line with the standards and guidelines developed by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ([57]ENQA). The decision on the accreditation of the study field is taken by the study accreditation committee.

The Academic Information Centre maintains the register of study fields, a public portal ([58]http://svr.aic.lv/Form.aspx?id=contacts) that includes information on higher education programmes and quality assurance of institutions and study fields.

A system for validation of prior learning (EQF levels 2-4) was launched in 2011 after amendments to the Vocational Education Law ([59]Saeima (1999). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
). Accredited education providers and examination centres with a permit from the State Education Quality Service ([60]Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests (IKVD).) carry out the validation process according to government regulations ([61]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Kārtība, kādā novērtē ārpus formālās izglītības sistēmas apgūto profesionālo kompetenci [Procedure how professional competences obtained outside formal education system are assessed]. Regulation No 146 (last amended 30.8.2011, No 663)].
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=226788
).

The validation procedure includes the following steps:

  • submission of application;
  • consultation (free of charge) on requirements of relevant occupational standard or professional qualification requirements and the exam procedure;
  • professional qualification exam (for a fee);
  • certification of professional qualification.

Since 2017, ESF support has been used to compensate the cost of the qualification exam both for the unemployed and employed. After successfully passing the exam, a certificate of a professional qualification (EQF level 2-4) is issued according to government regulations ([62]Cabinet of Ministers (2011). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
). The qualification gives access to labour market.

The validation procedure and criteria for higher education were approved in 2012, following amendments of 2011 to the Law on Higher Education Institutions ([63]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on higher education institutions ]. Last amended 18.10.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
). Knowledge, skills and competences acquired in previous learning may be validated according to learning outcomes of the study course or module (for regulated professions only in a theoretical course or module). Learning outcomes acquired through professional experience may only be recognised in a practical course or module of the study programme ([64]Cabinet of Ministers (2018a). Ārpus formālās izglītības apgūto vai profesionālajā pieredzē iegūto kompetenču un iepriekšējā izglītībā sasniegtu studiju rezultātu atzīšanas noteikumi [Regulations for validation of competences acquired outside formal education or during professional experience and for recognising learning outcomes acquired in previous education]. Regulations No 505.
https://likumi.lv/ta/id/301013-arpus-formalas-izglitibas-apguto-vai-profesionalaja-pieredze-ieguto-kompetencu-un-iepriekseja-izglitiba-sasniegtu
).

An overview of the development and implementation of the system for validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes (EQF levels 2-7) is provided in the report Implementation of validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes in Latvia prepared by the Academic Information Centre in 2018.

National policy priorities include increasing the attractiveness of initial vocational education and reduction of early leaving from education.

The education development guidelines 2014-20 ([65]Saeima (2014). Saeimas paziņojums 2014.gada 22.maijā: par Izglītības attīstības pamatnostādņu 2014.-20.gadam apstiprināšanu [Education development guidelines for 2014-20].
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=266406
) foresee preventive and compensatory actions, including:

  • promoting youth involvement in leisure and extracurricular activities that increase interest in practical areas and support skills development;
  • providing scholarships for vocational education students;
  • conducting a study on reasons for leaving education early;
  • implementing initial vocational education programmes in the Youth guarantee initiative framework;
  • identifying young NEETs and involving them in education.

Monthly scholarships

Unlike general education students, vocational education students receive monthly scholarships according to government regulations on scholarships ([66]Cabinet of Ministers (2004). Noteikumi par stipendijām [Regulations on scholarships]. Regulation No 740 (last amended 5.12.2017, No706).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=93004
). Students in public vocational education programmes receive a State scholarship of between EUR 10 and 150 per month depending on performance. Orphans/children without parental care (not in care institutions or foster families) and best performers in studies or school social activities receive a higher scholarship.

Scholarships and tax incentives for students of short programmes

17 to 29 year-old students of short programmes in the youth guarantee initiative may receive ESF part-financed scholarship per month up to EUR 70-115.

Tax incentives for individuals are also available and regulated by the Law on Personal Income Tax ([67]Saeima (1993). Par iedzīvotāju ienākuma nodokli [Law on personal income tax]. Last amended 31.5.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=56880
). The Law was amended to introduce, as of January 2017, a tax exemption for apprenticeship scholarships not exceeding EUR 280 per month.

Reduction of taxable income

Individuals may request the State Revenue Service ([68]Valsts ieņēmumu dienests.) to reduce their taxable income by the amount of their education (and medical) expenses up to a maximum of EUR 600 per year (increased in 2018), including expenses paid for brothers/sisters/children under 24 years of age ([69]Saeima (1993). Par iedzīvotāju ienākuma nodokli [Law on personal income tax]. Last amended 31.5.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=56880
). The revenue service is also responsible for monitoring the use of tax incentives. Recent statistics, however, do not include all claims, as expenses may be claimed up to three years after they have been incurred.

For taxation purposes ‘education’ is understood as participation in:

  • accredited education programmes (including higher and vocational education);
  • EU/European economic area occupational learning;
  • skills or qualification development;
  • interest education for children under 18 years of age.

Study loans for tertiary education

Tertiary (including professional) education students can apply for two types of study loan to cover tuition fees and costs of living. Loans are offered by selected banks (or other credit institutions) and are guaranteed by the State ([70]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on higher education institutions]. Last amended 18.10.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
).

Financial support for apprenticeships

The Employers’ Confederation of Latvia started a national level ESF project (2017-23) on vocational education students’ involvement in apprenticeship and work placements. Enterprises, vocational schools and students receive financial support for the project.

Financial support for apprenticeships

The Employers’ Confederation of Latvia started a national level ESF project (2017-23) on vocational education student involvement in apprenticeship and work placements. Enterprises, vocational schools and students receive financial support while part of the project.

The main incentives for companies to provide apprenticeships are:

  • opportunity to prepare the employees they need in a timely manner;
  • to create a positive image of the company in society;
  • to receive financing from the ESF project in this process;
  • an opportunity to pay a student motivational apprenticeship scholarship without paying taxes.

The project is a good support tool to provide additional funding for an employee who trains a student. It provides work safety tools, the opportunity to cover student insurance from the project funds, and purchase a mandatory health check; the project has also provided funding to cover travel costs for learner to get to the company where apprenticeship takes place.

The Education Law ([71]Saeima (1998). Izglītības likums [Education law]. Last amended 20.9.2018. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=50759
) stipulates local governments’ responsibility for provision of career education for children and the young; students’ right to receive career guidance and counselling; and responsibilities of heads of education institutions for ensuring access to career development services. The Vocational Education Law ([72]Saeima (1999a). Profesionālās izglītības likums [Vocational education law]. Last amended 22.6.2017. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=20244
) determines the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science for introducing guidance and counselling in vocational education.

The present career development support system has been in place since 2006. It was launched by a Ministry of Welfare policy paper on improving career guidance ([73]Cabinet of Ministers (2006a). Par Koncepciju Karjeras attīstības atbalsta sistēmas pilnveidošana [White paper on improvement of the career guidance system]. Cabinet Order No 214. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=132990
). The paper covers all aspects of lifelong guidance including the mechanisms to ensure better cooperation and coordination between key stakeholders at different levels. The development of career education and widening access to individual career services in a lifelong learning context is also one of policy priorities set by the education development guidelines 2014-20 ([74]Saeima (2014). Saeimas paziņojums 2014.gada 22.maijā: par Izglītības attīstības pamatnostādņu 2014.-20.gadam apstiprināšanu [Education development guidelines for 2014-20]. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=266406
) and is implemented with support from public and EU funds.

In 2007, the national guidance and counselling forum (Karjeras attīstības atbalsta sistēmas sadarbības padome) was established. This gathers policy-makers from the relevant ministries, guidance providers, social partners and users. The forum proposes changes at national and local levels, contributing to development of guidance and counselling policy and system. It also cooperates with the Latvian delegation to the European lifelong guidance policy network.

The provision of career education is one of the criteria for assessing quality in general and vocational education schools ([75]Cabinet of Ministers (2016e). Noteikumi Nr. 831 ‘Kārtība, kādā akreditē izglītības iestādes, eksaminācijas centrus un citas Izglītības likumā noteiktās institūcijas, vispārējās un profesionālās izglītības programmas un novērtē valsts augstskolu vidējās izglītības iestāžu, valsts un pašvaldību izglītības iestāžu vadītāju profesionālo darbību’ [Procedure for accrediting education institutions and examination centres, accrediting general and vocational education programmes, and evaluating professional work of heads of public education institutions]. Regulation No 831. Last amended 18.9.2018.
http://likumi.lv/ta/id/287602-kartiba-kada-akredite-izglitibas-iestades-eksaminacijas-centrus-un-citas-izglitibas-likuma-noteiktas-institucijas
). Vocational education competence centres should provide individual career counselling and support measures for career education to help students acquire career management skills ([76]Cabinet of Ministers (2013a). Profesionālās izglītības kompetences centra statusa piešķiršanas un anulēšanas kārtība [Procedure for allocation and nullification of vocational education competence centre status]. Regulation No 144.Last amended 25.8.2015.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=255589
).

The State Education Development Agency (VIAA) represents Latvia in the Euroguidance network and supports implementation of career education policy within the education sector.

The agency develops methodological materials for career guidance practitioners working at schools and guidance materials for young people and adults. VIAA also organises seminars for practitioners, since 2012, including a ‘career week’ in big cities for young people that offers visits to enterprises and meetings with representatives of different occupations; it organises participation of young professionals in international level competitions – EuroSkills and WordSkills – in which Latvian teams have competed successfully since 2010 and 2011 respectively, and, since 2017, has organised SkillsLatvia, the largest national professional skills competition for vocational education learners. The agency also maintains and updates an education opportunities database ([77]See
www.niid.lv [accessed 17.8.2018].
) with information about general, vocational and higher education providers and programmes, as well as about non-formal learning opportunities. VIAA also offers a website ([78]See
www.profesijupasaule.lv [accessed 17.8.2018].
) with information about the world of work.

According to the Support Law for Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment (Saeima, 2002), the State Employment Agency’s (NVA) functions include ensuring free career advice for the unemployed, job-seekers or other persons and developing career counselling methods and career guidance information.

NVA provides group and individual career consultations. Counselling methods depend on the client’s needs. The first meeting in an individual career consultation is devoted to clarifying the aims of the consultation and selecting the most appropriate working method, which may be focused on exploring professional interests, vocational aptitude, or exploring clients’ knowledge, skills/competences and values. If need be, psychological support is offered, in the form of a client resource assessment to show their strengths for a successful future life planning. The NVA web portal www.nva.gov.lv section Career services ([79]See Karjeras pakalpojumi:
http://www.nva.gov.lv/karjera [accessed 18.7.2018].
) has information on job searching and career decision making, with descriptions of occupations, education opportunities, and self-assessment tests.

According to the Law on Higher Education Institutions ([80]Saeima (1995). Augstskolu likums [Law on institutions of higher education]. Last amended 21.6.2018.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=37967
), students have a right to receive information on issues regarding their studies and potential careers. Higher education institutions have designated career centres that provide information on education and career opportunities.

In the private and NGO sectors, provision of guidance services is underdeveloped, but there are some promising initiatives. An example is the youth consultation web portal ([81]See
www.prakse.lv [accessed 18.7.2018].
) (since 2008), which is considered the largest in Latvia covering career and education issues.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College VET

programme

2-3 years

ISCED 554

First level higher professional education (college education) (pirmā līmeņa profesionālā augstākā izglītība (koledžas izglītība)) programme leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120-180 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Higher education institutions, including colleges (koledža) provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers
  • Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)
  • Colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=30%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirement is secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final qualification examination which also includes defence of a qualification paper.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

First level professional higher education diploma (pirmā līmeņa profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms) at EQF level 5.

Examples of qualifications

Accountant, insurance specialist, fitness trainer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • professional higher education studies (graduates may have shorter duration of further studies at EQF level 6 if they continue in the same field)
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the expected learning outcomes in the respective college study programme by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y, general education subjects take up at least 17% of the curriculum.

Key competences

Y

The compulsory content includes a module for the development of professional competences in entrepreneurship.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

13% learners of all higher education study programmes.

EQF 6

Professional bachelor

programme,

4 years

ISCED 655

Professional bachelor (profesionālais bakalaurs) programme leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

Minimum 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

At least 240 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=12.5%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at higher education institution
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirement is secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are learning-outcomes based.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional Bachelor’s diploma (profesionālā bakalaura diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Lawyer, social worker, civil engineer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • second level professional higher education studies
  • master studies
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y

general education subjects take up 17% of the curriculum

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

34% learners of all higher education study programmes (academic and professional) including ISCED 655 and 657.

EQF 6 or 7

Professional

higher education programme

(e.g. medical studies),

4-6 years

ISCED 655, 656, 756

Second level higher professional education programme after secondary education (otrā līmeņa profesionālās augstākās izglītības programmas pēc vidējās izglītības) leading to EQF level 6 or 7, ISCED 655, 656 or 756
EQF level
6 or 7
ISCED-P 2011 level

655, 656 or 756

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

23-25+

Usual completion age

27+

Length of a programme (years)

4 for ISCED 655, more than 4 for ISCED 656, 5 minimum for ISCED 756

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

240-360 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=12.5%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at higher education institution
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirement is secondary education for ISCED 655, 656 and 756.

Entry requirement can be first level professional higher education (college programme) for ISCED 655.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional higher education diploma, diploma of higher professional qualification (profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms, augstākās profesionālās kvalifikācijas diploms) (at least four years of full time studies for EQF level 6 and at least five years of full time studies for EQF level 7)

Examples of qualifications

Cardiac surgeon, dietitian, occupational health physician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • labour market
  • master programmes for ISCED 655 and 656
  • doctoral programmes for ISCED 756
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

Y

general education subjects take up 12.5% of the curriculum

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

7% learners of all higher education study programmes.

EQF 6

Professional

Higher education programme,

1-2 years

ISCED 657

Second level higher professional education programme after bachelor level studies (otrā līmeņa profesionālā augstākās izglītības programma pēc bakalaura līmeņa studijām) leading to EQF level 6 ISCED 657
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

657

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

23+

Usual completion age

24+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60-120 ECTS credit points.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes).

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at higher education institution
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirement is a bachelor degree or professional bachelor degree, second level higher professional education (after secondary education)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional higher education diploma, diploma of higher professional qualification (profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms, augstākās profesionālās kvalifikācijas diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Fire safety and civil protection engineer, translator, lawyer

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content includes humanitarian and social sciences study courses, including courses that develop social, communicative and organisational skills, as well as information technology courses. The study courses must include a module for the development of professional competence in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 7

Professional master

programme

min 1 year

ISCED 757

Professional master (profesionālais maģistrs) programme leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 757
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

22+

Usual completion age

23+

Length of a programme (years)

Minimum 1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

a certain number of study places in many programmes are financed by the State.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 to 120 ECTS, depending on the previous education and field.

Since 2004, Latvia has had a well-established national credit point system. One Latvian credit point corresponds to the workload of one week full-time studies (40 points per academic year). Recalculating in ECTS credits, the amount of Latvian credit points has to be multiplied by 1.5.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Higher education institutions provide full-time, part-time and distance studies at all levels.

Main providers

Higher education institutions (including universities, university colleges, academies, institutes)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at higher education institution
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirement is a bachelor’s degree or professional bachelor’s degree, second level higher professional education (after secondary education)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a State examination and defend a final thesis. Study programmes are based on learning outcomes.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional master’s diploma (profesionālā maģistra diploms)

Examples of qualifications

Economist, electrical engineer, quality manager

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter:

  • labour market
  • doctoral studies
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Learning outcomes are validated based on the knowledge, skills, and competences acquired in previous learning or professional experience, as well as learning outcomes achieved in previous learning, with the learning outcomes to be achieved in the respective study programme of the higher education institution by awarding the respective amount of credits.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Compulsory content must include study courses which develop professional competences in entrepreneurship (if it was not acquired in lower level study courses).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

13% learners of all higher education study programmes (academic and professional).

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

ISCED 254

Basic vocational education (profesionālā pamatizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 254
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

15+

Usual completion age

16+

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • workshops at school
Main providers

Special education institutions/development centres or vocational education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • workshops at schools
  • in-company training
Main target groups

The main target groups are learners with intellectual disability and early leavers from compulsory basic education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements, but learners must be at least 15 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([84]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year, but must covering the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of basic vocational education (apliecība par profesionālo pamatizglītību), with professional qualification at EQF level 2.

Examples of qualifications

Cook’s assistant, carpenter's assistant

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
  • progress to secondary level (vocational) education
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

1% ([85]2017)

EQF 3

Mainly

School-based secondary VET,

WBL 65%,

3 years

ISCED 353

Vocational education (arodizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

The learning form of this programme type is contact studies which can also be implemented as an apprenticeship-type scheme.

Main providers

Vocational schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • workshops at school
  • in-company training
Main target groups

The main target group is young people after completion of basic education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements are 15 years and basic education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([86]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to the government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of vocational education (atestāts par arodizglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 3

Examples of qualifications

Cook, carpenter, gardener

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter vocational secondary education
  • enter the labour market

For admission to higher education, a one-year intermediate general secondary education ‘bridge programme’ must be followed.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The share of theory is 60%.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these education programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([87]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
) and occupational standards ([88]Since 2016, in parallel to the occupational standards, Cabinet Regulations stipulate qualifications requirements and sectoral qualifications framework (SQF) descriptions. In further text, the term ‘occupational standards’ includes all the mentioned documents.) ([89]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
) and is based on learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

5% ([90]2017)

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based secondary VET

WBL 50%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Vocational secondary education (profesionālā vidējā izglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools and some colleges.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • workshops at schools
  • in-company training
Main target groups

The main target group is young people after completing basic education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements are basic education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a vocational education programme, learners need to pass a final professional qualification examination and qualification practice. The professional qualification examination ([91]Cabinet of Ministers (2011c). Profesionālās kvalifikācijas eksāmenu norises kārtība akreditētās profesionālās izglītības programmās [Procedure of professional qualification examinations in accredited vocational education programmes]. Regulation No 662 (last amended 18.12.2012, No 918).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=235206
) includes both theoretical and practical parts, designed in line with both occupational and State vocational education standards and organised according to government regulations. Representatives from relevant sectoral organisations participate in the examination process.

Vocational secondary education students must also take State centralised exams in the following general study subjects: Latvian, mathematics, foreign language and one subject selected by the student.

A learner who fails a qualification examination is entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational secondary education programmes lead to a diploma of vocational secondary education (diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 4.

The State centralised exams in four general subjects provide students with a certificate of general secondary education (vispārējās vidējās izglītības sertifikāts) and the right to enter higher education.

Examples of qualifications

Car mechanic, electronic technician, mechanical engineering technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
  • continue in higher education after passing the State centralised exams in general study subjects
Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The share of theory is 60%.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are acquired according to the State education standard.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([92]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([93]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

71% ([94]2017)

EQF 3

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

up to 2 years

ISCED 351,453

One year vocational education (viengadīgā arodizglītība) programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 or 453
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351 or 453

Usual entry grade

10+

Usual completion grade

11+

Usual entry age

17+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

At the end of the learning process there is at least 560 hours of qualification practice, followed by a final qualification examination.

The learning form of this programme type is mainly contact studies which can also be implemented as an apprenticeship-type scheme; however, some programmes are offered in part-time form.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • workshops at schools
  • in-company training
Main target groups

The main target group is young people. Since 2014/15, these programmes have been offered to 17 to 29 year-olds with basic or secondary education in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements are age 17 and basic education (for programmes of ISCED 351) or secondary education (for programmes of ISCED 453 ([95]In Latvia, post-secondary education programmes, in contrast to what their name suggests, belong to secondary education level.)).

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the programme learners must pass a final professional qualification examination.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificate of professional qualification (profesionālās kvalifikācijas apliecība) (EQF level 3)

Examples of qualifications

Carer, carpenter, gardener

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire a certificate of professional qualification (EQF level 3) through validation of prior learning.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([96]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([97]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

9% ([98]2017)

EQF 4

Mainly

school-based VET,

WBL 65%

up to 2 years

ISCED 351, 453

One and a half to three-year vocational secondary education after general secondary education (profesionālā vidējā izglītība pēc vispārējās vidējās izglītības) programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 453
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1.5-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Since 2014/15, these programmes have been offered in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Vocational education programmes are mainly school-based, with practical learning periods at schools or enterprises. Since 2015, vocational education can also take the form of an apprenticeship-type scheme (nationally called ‘work-based learning’) with flexible curricula taking place alternately at school and enterprise.

At the end of the learning process there is at least 560 hours of qualification practice, which is followed by a qualification examination.

The learning form of this programme type is mainly contact studies which can be implemented also as an apprenticeship-type scheme. However, several programmes are offered in part-time or distance learning form.

Main providers

The main providers are vocational schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • workshops at schools
  • in-company training
Main target groups

The main target group is young people. Since 2014/15, programmes mainly of one and a half years have been offered to 17 to 29 year-olds with secondary education in the Youth guarantee initiative using ESF support.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirement is secondary education

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a final professional qualification examination.

If a learner fails a qualification examination, they are entitled to take a second examination in the following academic year but must cover the costs.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Short vocational secondary education programmes (ISCED-P 453) lead to a diploma of vocational secondary education (diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību) with professional qualification at EQF level 4.

Examples of qualifications

Car mechanic, book-keeper, dental technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The content of these programmes, which are elaborated by providers, is defined by the State vocational education standards ([99]Cabinet of Ministers (2000). Noteikumi par valsts profesionālās vidējās izglītības standartu un valsts arodizglītības standartu [Regulations on the State vocational secondary education standard and the State vocational education standard]. Regulation No 211 (last amended 19.9.2017, No 564).
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=8533
), occupational standards ([100]Cabinet of Ministers (2016). Profesijas standarta, profesionālās kvalifikācijas prasību (ja profesijai neapstiprina profesijas standartu) un nozares kvalifikāciju struktūras izstrādes kārtība [Procedure for the development of occupational standard, professional qualification requirements (if occupational standard is not approved for an occupation) and sectoral qualifications framework]. Regulation No 633.
http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=285032
), and is based on learning outcomes.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

14% ([101]2017)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Greece is strongly state-regulated and, until recently, mostly offered through a school-based approach; overall responsibility has the education ministry in cooperation, occasionally, with the labour ministry. It is offered, after the completion of compulsory schooling, mainly at upper secondary and post-secondary level.

Distinctive features [1]Data from VET in Greece Spotlight, see CEDEFOP (2018) https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4168_en.pdf 
:

Greek society strongly favours general education and appreciates university studies. Both these factors reflect sociological stereotypes rooted in long-lasting perceptions and have affected overall VET attractiveness. VET has been characterised by higher dropout rates; multiplicity and complexity of the legal framework; challenges regarding the design and implementation of VET-related policies; and impediments to linking with the labour market. It remains a second choice and often attracts low performers, who may also come from lower economic backgrounds.

The level of participation in formal education is generally high; Greece has already achieved early school leaving goals. Yet, the national average masks significant variation between geographical regions ([2]OECD (2018) Economic Survey, https://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Greece-2018-OECD-economic-survey-overview.pdf
), types of schools, gender and social groups (i.e. native and first- and second-generation migrant students) ([3]http://ec.europa.eu/education/tools/docs/2015/monitor2015-greece_en.pdf
).

Since 2016, the education ministry has been conducting a major reform of the VET system, taking into account challenges raised by the financial crisis, such as:

  • high unemployment rates;
  • high NEETs (people not in employment, education or training) rates (24.2% in 2017);
  • unexpected influx of refugees halted on Greek territory (requiring training and education programmes, which are currently being designed and implemented);
  • ageing population;
  • increased brain drain (highly qualified and mostly young people).

This socioeconomic landscape reflects enduring deficiencies in adapting to change and more specifically in equipping people in Greece with the necessary job specific skills that improve employability and well-being prospects.

To counteract these challenges the education ministry has undertaken the following key actions:

  • implementing a coherent national strategic framework for upgrading VET and apprenticeships (April 2016) aiming to promote and enhance the social role of VET, upgrade and expand apprenticeships, strengthen links between VET and the labour market, increase VET quality, and promote VET attractiveness;
  • establishing (since 2016) a new structure at upper secondary vocational education programmes (EPAL) to reduce early overspecialisation by focusing more on key competences in the first year of the programme; this aids permeability between general and vocational education and allows for better allocation of the teaching staff;
  • establishing (since 2016) a new pathway, a one-year apprenticeship programme at post-secondary level to offer upper secondary VET graduates the chance to acquire labour-market-relevant skills and to support them entering the labour market;
  • introducing the skills diagnosis mechanism (National Labour and Human Resources Institute - EIEAD) to reduce skills mismatch and update VET curricula.

The future course of development in Greece relies on VET as a primary instrument to provide necessary skills to individuals.

Population in 2018: 10 741 165 ([4]Source: Eurostat, tps00001 and proj_15ndbims [Extracted on 16.05.2019]
)

In the period 2013 to 2018, there is a population decrease of approximately 2.4%, due to negative natural growth (fertility to mortality rate) and migration.

Especially as a crisis effect, the population is ageing. Migration and the lack of significant economic incentives to young couples further deteriorated the phenomenon.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 32 in 2015 to 68 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).
).

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted on 16.05.2019]

Latest Eurostat data shows a steady increase of overall VET learners in Greece, attributed to increased post-secondary non-tertiary education enrolments. Also, enrolments in upper secondary vocational education (EPAL) provide an indication that recent changes have positive effects. However, demographic changes (low birth rate and brain drain) are considered to have a negative impact on the size of VET learners’ population.

Resident population by citizenship group in Greece 2017

Source: Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT)

The sizeable presence of inflows, especially from third countries, creates the need to integrate them into education and employment. According to 2017 data a 7.5% of the population of Greece comprises of non-Greek nationals (92.5% Greek nationals, 1.9% nationals of other European Union countries, 3.5% nationals of EU candidate countries and 2.1% from other countries) ([6]See ELSTAT, https://www.statistics.gr (File A1605_SPO18_TS_AN_00_2009_00_2017_17_F_GR) Retrieved on 6/6/2018.
).

Most companies are medium and small-sized with some large sized companies. 

Main economic sectors:

VET specialties belong mainly to the following sectors:

  • Technician of electrical systems, installations and networks
  • Administration and Financial
  • Vehicle technician
  • IT application technician
  • Nurse assistant
  • Plant production technician

Many occupations/professions are regulated although a lot of diplomas are not connected to professional rights ([8]https://www.eoppep.gr/index.php/el/qualification-certificate/professional-rights
).

In the private sector both diplomas and skills are taken into consideration while hiring or assessing employees.

Total unemployment ([9]Source: Eurostat, une_rt_a [Extracted on 20.05.2019]
) (2018): 18.2% (6.0% in EU28); it is still 11.6 percentage points higher than in 2008

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education

ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education

Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted on 16.05.2019]

 

Although unemployment has been reduced by almost 10 p.p., the unemployment rate of those with low and medium level qualifications is still above 20%. Unemployment of tertiary graduates is significantly lower (13.7%), but still considerably high.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 53.0% in 2014 to 63.1% in 2018 ([10]Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted on 16.05.2019]
).

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted on 16.05.2019]

 

The increase (+10.1 pp) in employment of 20-34-year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+8.3 pp) in the same period in Greece ([11]Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted on 16.05.2019]
).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Greece please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [11a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Greece. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/greece_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Even with reduced spending on education ([12]A 36% drop in funding for education in 2009-15 has been reported by the Hellenic Government. See http://ec.europa.eu/education/tools/docs/2015/monitor2015-greece_en.pdf
), Greece has achieved progress in terms of educational attainment, while the already executed financing programme (via the overarching framework of the European Stability Mechanism), as well as the current ongoing reform agenda, place education as part of a national growth and development strategy. The share of those with medium level qualification (41.8%) is lower than the EU average (45.7%), while the share of tertiary graduates (31.7%) is very close to the EU average (32.2%).

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability for Czech Republic, Poland, and Latvia.

ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education

ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education

Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted on 16.05.2019]

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted on 16.05.2019]

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; not applicable for Ireland.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted on 16.05.2019].

Information not available

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.2% in 2009 to 4.7% in 2018. It is below the national target for 2020 (10.0%) and well below the EU-28 average (10.6%).

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.

Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted on 16.05.2019] and European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed on 14.11.2018]

 

Dropout rates also vary by region, school and programme.

Lifelong learning (LLL) offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from compulsory education.

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-17


NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.

Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted on 16.05.2019]

 

Participation in LLL in Greece has been increasing, although it remains lower than the EU-28 average.

The need for updated skills, low participation in LLL and high NEET rates reflect enduring deficiencies in adapting to change and more specifically in equipping people in Greece with the necessary job specific skills that improve employability and well-being prospects.

On average, learners in Greece tend to graduate from upper secondary vocational education and training (VET) programmes at a younger age than in the rest of the OECD: 90% of Greek upper secondary VET graduates are under 25 years old, against 80% on average for the OECD countries ([13] http://gpseducation.oecd.org/Content/EAGCountryNotes/EAG2016_CN_GRC.pdf
).

NQF levels of education and training system ([14]
Source: https://nqf.gov.gr/en/index.php/ta-8-epipeda Training schools (SEK) are not functioning any more, but their certificate (post lower secondary training, NQF level 3) are recognised.
 
):

  • elementary school certificate (NQF level 1);
  • lower secondary school certificate (NQF level 2);
  • vocational school certificate (EPAS) / vocational upper secondary school degree and certificate (EPAL) / general upper secondary school certificate (NQF level 4)
  • vocational upper secondary school degree, apprenticeship class / vocational training diploma (IEK) after graduates’ certification / post-secondary and not higher education diploma or degree (NQF level 5)
  • bachelor’s degree (NQF level 6)
  • bachelor’s degree of 5 years / master’s degree (NQF level 7)
  • doctorate (NQF level 8)

Compulsory education in Greece lasts 11 years and extends from the ages of four to 15.  The main stages of the Greek education system are three.

Primary education that includes pre-primary and primary schools

  • pre-primary school in Greece has become compulsory for all four-year-old children, since school year 2018-2019.  It’s expected that in three years, the two-year pre-school education will become compulsory in all municipalities of the country and children will enrol in pre-primary schools (nipiagogeia) at the age of four.
  • Infant centres (vrefikoi stathmoi), infant/child centres (vrefonipiakoi stathmoi) and child centres (paidikoi stathmoi) represent early childhood care. They operate under the remit of municipal authorities. They cater for children between two months and up to four years old.
  • Primary school (dimotiko scholeio) lasts six years. It concerns children in the age range of six to12 years. Since school year 2016/17, there is a single type of all-day primary school with a new revised daily timetable.

Secondary Education includes two cycles of study

  • a lower secondary programme (gymnasio), which is compulsory, lasts three years, provides general education, covers ages 12 to 15 and is a prerequisite for enrolling at general or vocational upper secondary schools. There is also an evening lower secondary programme (esperino gymnasio); attendance starts at the age of 14;
  • upper secondary programmes, which are optional and can take the form of a general or vocational upper secondary programme (geniko or epaggelmatiko lykeio); they last three years and learners enrol at the age of 15. There are also evening upper secondary programmes.

Tertiary Education  

Most undergraduate degree programmes last four academic years of full-time study. Postgraduate courses last from one to two years, while doctorates last at least three years. The tertiary education comprises:

  • universities (panepistimio)
  • polytechnics
  • the school of fine arts.
  • technological education institutions (technologika ekpaideftika idrymata) (upgraded in universities in 2019)
  • the school of pedagogical and technological education (ASPETE).

Two to four-year higher professional programmes are offered by higher professional schools, under the supervision of the competent ministry ([15]Source: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/greece_en
).

The Law 3879/2010 distinguishes between initial and continuing VET.

Formal, non-formal, initial and continuing VET

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Greece

 

Both types provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enter the labour market. Only initial VET is linked to professional rights (licences). Some initial VET programmes give learners access to the next qualification level (post-secondary or tertiary level). Non-formal continuing VET is part of adult learning. It is partially recognised in the private sector of labour market.

Formal VET leads to qualification level 4 and non-formal VET to qualification level 5 (of NQF and EQF), apart from the non-formal continuing VET certificate for “Security staff” awarded to professionals, which is at NQF level 3 (law 4229/2014).

The VET standard specifies the volume, learning outcomes, conditions for completion and continuation of studies for each VET type.

There are several VET learning options:

  • school-based learning
  • work practice (including internships and apprenticeships)
  • self-learning (too partial)

The title of VET programmes is awarded to learners after state examinations that certify their qualifications. The examinations are usually learning-outcomes based and include a theoretical and a practical part. Responsible for the certification procedure are the education ministry or the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) or the labour ministry.

In upper secondary VET, there are apprenticeship programmes offered by EPAS Schools (scholes mathiteias).

In post-secondary VET, vocational training schools (IEK) offer 2.5-year programmes including optional internships; upper secondary vocational schools (EPAL) also offer apprenticeship programmes.

The apprenticeship programmes (offered by upper secondary vocational schools – EPAL) give to EPAL graduates the opportunity to upgrade their education qualifications and obtain work experience. The programme lasts for one academic year leading to a qualification at EQF level 5 and the corresponding professional license. It combines a seven-hour school-placed laboratory course (once per week) and the “workplace education programme – apprenticeship at work” in public and private companies (28 hours/ four days per week). During the latter, the apprentices receive a salary of 75% of the legal minimum wage and full insurance coverage, so that they become familiar with the rights and obligations of workers and so that employers acquire a sense of commitment to the apprentices' training.

The government approves the national education policy designed by the education ministry. Social partners including trade unions and employer organisations participate in the working group on developing legislation.

Public and private VET providers are monitored, evaluated and usually funded either by the General Secretariat of lifelong learning, the directorates of secondary or professional education of the education ministry or supervised organisations by the education ministry (i.e. National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance -EOPPEP, universities).

The National committee for VET was set up in 2017. It is responsible for the overall coordination of governance of the Greek VET system, monitoring the implementation of the 2016 National strategic framework for the upgrade of VET and apprenticeship and evaluating its results. The National committee is supported in its work by a Technical committee for VET. VET governance has been also reinforced through the introduction of two new bodies, i.e. the National apprentice co-ordination body (ESOM) and the National council for education and development of human resources (ESEKAAD).

Several advisory bodies and social partner organisations participate in policy implementation. County governments prepare and implement local education development plans and coordinate activities of municipal educational institutions.

The governance of VET depends on different committees’ decisions. As a consequence, its management has not yet reached the desirable integrity, immediacy or even coherence.

Formal VET is mostly state financed.

Apprenticeship programmes are financed from national, private and/or EU funds (i.e. European Social Fund). Participating enterprises contribute 45% of the apprentices’ remuneration. EU funds amount a total of approximately € 30 million. 

The following main categories of teachers and trainers are at play in VET programmes:

  • general subject teachers
  • vocational subject teachers
  • teachers of practical training
  • post-secondary VET teachers (in-school trainers)
  • in-company trainers

General subject teachers are required to hold a higher education degree and pedagogical and didactical expertise. Vocational subject teachers are required to hold either a higher education degree and pedagogical and didactical expertise, or a lower vocational degree and relevant work experience.

Teaching staff in public post-secondary VET institutions come from two alternative lists:

  • one comprising holders of the teaching competence certification, obtained on passing the certification exams;
  • a second list with trainers who possess specific qualifications − tertiary education degrees, teaching experience, relevant training − but have not (yet) completed the certification process.

Since December 2015, the mechanism for certification of trainers from this second list has become self-funded via certification fees that the candidates have to pay on submission of their application and portfolio. According to Law 4485/2017, the certification of teaching competences of VET teachers and adult trainers will become a prerequisite for their enrolment in training programmes partly funded by the State. This will affect post-secondary non-formal IVET and CVET teachers.

The formal VET (EPAL) teachers’ training is continuous and co-financed by ESF funds. Particular attention is paid to the CPD of teaching staff who work in school-based programmes and will be (re)allocated to the new apprenticeship programmes (at post-secondary level). Focus is on developing their knowledge and competences for collaborating with enterprises and apprentices. Also important is peer-learning and capturing the experience of teachers who already piloted work-based learning activities (other than apprenticeships) in previous years.

The informal VET (IVET and CVET) adult trainers’ training is continuous. In order to be certified by the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) they must attend a programme of at least 100 hours on adult training. They also have to renew their certification every 10 years; to do so they either have to acquire teaching experience of at least 150 hours or attend a programme of at least 50 hours on adult training.

The 2016 National strategic framework for the upgrade of VET and apprenticeship introduced broad provisions on requirements and training of enterprise staff that will become in-company trainers, linked to a future goal of accreditation of companies that participate in apprenticeships. The strategy foresees that in-company trainers (at least one per company) will attend a short and flexible training programme, focusing on pedagogical knowledge and competences as well as on adult training techniques. Participation by professional associations and chambers is encouraged. In-company trainers should attend a training programme designed jointly by the national employment service, chambers and education institutions. Greek authorities are aiming at creating a register of certified in-company trainers.

As a major step to cover the gap between VET and labour market needs ([16]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/cedefop_skills_forecast_2018_-_greece.pdf
), a new skills forecasting mechanism has been introduced ([17]Based upon Law 4368/2016, February 2016 and Ministerial Decree 4013/410/26.05.2016 on the introduction and operation of a relevant network and the supportive information system
). The mechanism:

  • addresses the necessity for early identification of medium-term trends in labour market needs;
  • eases the design of employment policies in accordance with training and education programmes;
  • allows the implementation of the Youth Guarantee scheme in Greece;
  • increases the impact of VET (i.e. development of required VET curricula), most importantly via providing necessary labour market information that will inform evidence-based policy making in the field of VET.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([18]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast
).

In April 2016, the education ministry published the Strategic framework for upgrading VET and apprenticeships where there is an explicit reference to the need of upgrading the quality of curricula.

Upper secondary vocational programmes (EPAL) offer specialties that are defined by law; these specialties and their provision are determined by a decision of the education Minister. The specialties offered should reflect the needs of the economy, the proposals of the regional VET boards (not fully established), social partners, chambers and professional associations, and the recommendations of the labour ministry, OAED ([19]Manpower Employment Organisation
), the ministry of development and other competent ministries and will also be informed by the results of the skills forecasting mechanism. A structured procedure for this kind of consultation does not exist. The detailed curriculum of each specialty must be designed in accordance with the relevant occupational profile (if this exists) ([20]In the context of the overall updating of certification, the Ministry of Education in co-operation with EOPPEP and in consultation with social partners, is still in the process of reforming the system of Occupational Profiles.
) and the principles and guidelines laid down by ECVET. The curricula of formal upper secondary VET are developed by IEP ([21]Institute of Education Policy
) and issued in the form of ministerial decisions. The new law also requires that the duration and details of the timetable and curriculum will be assessed and, if this is deemed necessary, revised ([22]In these terms Law 4386/2016 introduces ongoing evaluation of curricula in contrast to Law 4186/2013 where revision was programmed for every 6 years.
). The education ministry has been recently promoting through a large-scale ESF project the upgrading and updating of EPAL curricula, the writing of new education material (laboratory guides, books) and relevant training for EPAL teachers.

Specialties of apprenticeship programmes were decided by the National committee for VET and apprenticeships, based on recommendations by the Technical committee ([23]The National committee for VET was set up in 2017. It is responsible for the overall coordination of governance of the Greek VET system, monitoring the implementation of the 2016 National strategic framework for the upgrade of VET and apprenticeship and evaluating its results. The National committee is supported in its work by a Technical committee for VET.
) and considering the findings of the skills forecasting mechanism. Several factors, such as demand for existing specialties and regional recommendations were taken into account. IEP is responsible for the development of curricula for the EPAL apprenticeship class and apprenticeship programmes (EPAS), which should include a clear workplace component (that was missing from existing EPAS programmes).

The curricula of post-secondary VET programmes (IEK) are developed by the General Secretariat for vocational education, training and lifelong learning (which also supervises all the public and private vocational training providers) and certified by the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP). The study guide of each specialty includes the job profile, the learning outcomes expressed as knowledge, skills and competences by subject and specialty, the corresponding credits, the potential candidate placement in the labour market, the timetable and specific curriculum, the teaching methods, and the necessary equipment. In 2017/18, 65 curricula of the new IEK specialties (established by Law 4186/2013) were drawn up together with the respective exam-subjects repository.

The law on lifelong learning (Law 3879/2010) sets quality standards for lifelong learning, introducing a requirement of teacher and trainer competence and professional development for teachers and trainers in adult education and stipulating continuous monitoring and evaluation of the national lifelong learning network. Specifically, it envisages (Article 18) that providers of lifelong learning services that are funded from the public purse must be evaluated as regards the realisation of the objectives set out in their lifelong learning programme and receive subsidies based on their effectiveness. It also provides (Article 19) for the establishment of a system for the professional development and evaluation of the trainers and staff involved in non-formal education and teachers in ‘second chance’ schools.

Other legislative initiatives in Greece aiming to upgrade the quality of education provided at all levels are:

  • law 3848/2010 on upgrading the role of the teachers and trainers – establishment of norms for evaluation and meritocracy in education and other provisions;
  • law 4009/2011 on the structure, operation, quality assurance of studies, and internationalisation of institutions of higher education;
  • Joint Ministerial Decision 26381/2017 (GG 490Β/20.2.2017) on the quality framework for apprenticeship and the implementation of the apprenticeship class which falls under the jurisdiction of the education ministry upgrading the learning methods of apprenticeship implementation, setting specific obligations for both the companies and the apprentices and providing the means to evaluate the apprenticeship system;
  • Joint Ministerial Decision No 26385 (GG 491Β/20.2.2017) on the quality framework for VET curricula.

Specifically, for apprenticeship programmes, the education and labour ministries provide:

  • quality assurance at the curriculum design stage;
  • quality assurance at the stage of preparation for implementation;
  • quality assurance at the implementation stage;
  • post-implementation evaluation.

 

Not applicable

The main incentives used by the state to increase VET participation, include: 

  • reinforcing the permeability for graduates of upper secondary vocational education (EPAL). EPAL graduates can take part in a designated national examination for admission to tertiary education programmes. They have at least a 20% quota (recently increased) for technological bachelor and higher professional programmes. A 2018 law provides for an increase to 5% admission quota to bachelor programmes, reinforcing VET permeability. Also, graduates have access to a joint group of faculties at universities, tertiary not higher education schools and military schools regardless of their graduation field, by sitting the same examinations as the general education graduates. EPAL graduates will also have direct access to the newly formed two-year professional programmes provided by universities ([24]They will only accept EPAL graduates
    ) leading to a degree at level 5 of the National qualifications framework.
  • the “Post-secondary year - apprenticeship class” for EPAL graduates. This apprenticeship programme strengthens VET attractiveness by enabling EPAL graduates to upgrade their professional qualifications. Apprentices receive a salary of 75% of the legal minimum wage and full insurance coverage.

The Lifelong learning law (Law 3879/2010) covering CVET provision also foresees incentives for updating the knowledge, skills and competence of the labour force (Article 18). These may include:

  • granting education leave for participation in lifelong learning programmes, especially for workers in the private sector;
  • setting up personal education accounts, with contributions from the employer and the employee (and possibly the state) to cover the worker’s training needs;
  • establishing personal learning time accounts to let workers take part in continuous training programmes.

Apart from such regulatory incentives, there are also financial incentives for workers and the unemployed to take part in continuing training programmes aiming to upgrade their knowledge, skills and competences. In practice, participation of learners in CVET is promoted through financial incentives that combine a voucher for classroom training with remuneration foreseen for workplace training / work placements in many programmes promoting key Active labour market policies (ALMP). Continuing training is subsidised primarily from ESF, but also from the Greek training fund (LAEK).

In an effort to tackle youth unemployment the labour ministry, in cooperation with the ministries of education, culture and development, elaborated a unified operational ‘Action plan of targeted interventions to boost youth employment and entrepreneurship in the framework of the national strategic reference framework (NSRF) operational programme (2014-2018). In the framework of this action plan, vocational training-related initiatives were implemented to foster employment and entrepreneurship of persons aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 35 ([25] The first Youth Guarantee implementation plan was submitted to the European Commission in 31.12.2013. An updated plan was submitted and approved in May 2014. An update file for 2018: https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1161&langId=en&intPageId=3337
). The budget was 620 million EUR (total) and the potential beneficiaries were estimated to 380 000 people for the programming period 2014-20.

The lifelong learning law (Law 3879/2010, Article 18) establishes incentives for the development of lifelong learning and updating of the knowledge, skills and abilities of the country’s human resources, including subsidies for lifelong learning providers. They are supported by public funds based on their effectiveness. This provision has not yet been implemented, but overall work on this topic was recently reassumed.

In addition, companies are entitled to receive back their contributions to the Greek training fund (LAEK) if they carry out training programmes for their personnel. The revenues of this account, which is managed by the Manpower employment organisation (OAED), come from employers’ contributions to the Social Security Organisation, with each company contributing 0.24% of its gross wage bill.

Many companies receive financial incentives to offer training places to students in or graduates of VET programmes. In this way they contribute to the education of learners, as for example in the EPAL ([26]https://www.e-nomothesia.gr/inner.php/epaggelmata-tekhnes/koine-upourgike-apophase-26385-2017.html?print=1 (Joint Ministerial Decision No. 26385/2017 GG 491 / Β / 20-2-2017: Apprenticeship Quality Framework)
) and EPAS ([27]https://www.taxheaven.gr/laws/circular/view/id/23805 (Joint Ministerial Decision No. 24018/411 / 26.5.2016-Subsidy for the practical training of pupils of the EPAs.OAED Apprenticeship under Law 3475/2006)
) apprenticeship schemes. There are also subsidies for companies that take part in vocational training actions funded by ESF that combine training with counselling and work placement schemes. CVET providers benefit from the training voucher schemes that largely form the basis of active labour market policies.

The education ministry offers in-school vocational guidance to students and parents (information about job and study possibilities, alternative pathways, risks that go with dropping out of school) through the decentralised structures of the department of vocational orientation. The secondary school programme includes a vocational guidance class, and vocational guidance can be selected as the focus of inter-thematic projects. There are also counselling and guidance centres for meetings bringing together children or young people (up to age 25) and their teachers and guardians (KESY).

OAED ([28]Manpower employment organisation
) has established 30 vocational education career offices (GDEE) within the framework of the EPAS schools, aiming at linking vocational education to the world of work by placing students in appropriate jobs in private and public-sector enterprises. OAED also offers counselling services aimed at mobilising the unemployed and helping them enter the labour market. These services include ([29]http://www.oaed.gr/symbouleutikes-yperesies1 (10/10/2018)
):

  • workshops for activation - mobilisation of the unemployed;
  • vocational guidance counselling - career management, for first-time jobseekers with no clear occupational goal and people obliged to change their occupation;
  • job search counselling;
  • counselling for business involvement- to encourage the development of entrepreneurial skills and help unemployed persons start businesses with enhanced feasibility prospects.

OAED is also a member of the European job mobility portal (EURES) network, which provides information, advice and hiring/placement services to workers and jobseekers in other European countries, and to employers looking to hire people. In Greece there are 39 EURES points in various cities.

Specialised centres offer counselling and vocational guidance (SYEP) services to students, jobseekers, employed individuals interested in managing their career or in a career change, parents, and special target groups (such as special education needs learners and migrants).

The agency responsible for lifelong counselling and vocational guidance is EOPPEP ([30]https://www.eoppep.gr/index.php/el/work-guidance-and-consulting/eoppep-syep (10/10/2018)
), which is a member of the corresponding European network (ELGPN) that was set up by the European Commission in 2007. EOPPEP is responsible for: helping to design and implement national counselling and vocational guidance policy, coordinating the action of public and private SYEP services providers, promoting the training and further education of SYEP staff and specifying the required qualifications, implementing actions supporting counsellors, and supporting citizens in matters relating to development and career management.

Teenagers can use a designated vocational guidance portal ([31]http://www.EOPPEP.gr/teens/ (10/10/2018)
) to look for information about occupations, take skills and vocational guidance tests and create their own personal skills file.

There is also an electronic lifelong careers counselling forum (IRIS), which is intended for public and private sector vocational guidance and careers counsellors and aims at encouraging supplementary actions by public and private sector counselling bodies and staff, nationally and in each region separately, and improving the quality of the services provided ([32]https://www.eoppep.gr/index.php/el/how-to/register-freelance (10/10/2018)
).

The National strategic framework for upgrading VET and apprenticeships (2016) explicitly refers to the need for an expansion of the guidance services. EOPPEP has developed occupational standards for career counsellors and at this stage is working on the creation of an institutional framework - qualification certification system for the careers / vocational guidance advisors and the set-up of a relevant register of certified career guides / vocational guidance officers ([33]https://www.eoppep.gr/index.php/el/work-guidance-and-consulting/eoppep-upgrade-actions/national-forum-syep-irida (10/10/2018)
).

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher professional programmes

ISCED 655

Higher professional programmes leading to EQF level 5. ISCED 655 Higher Professional Programmes (Sxoles anoteris epaggelmatikis ekpaidefsis) (dance and theatre schools, schools of petty officers and the Academy of merchant navy)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

3-4
 

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Yes and No

At public schools, free of charge. At private schools, learners pay fees.

Is it available for adults?

Y

(only for adults)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Full-time

Main providers

Public and private schools supervised by respective ministries (e.g. education, culture, defence, tourism, mercantile Marine)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

It depends on the programme

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

work practice (practical training at school or on the job training)

Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults. Special education needs learners can also attend these programmes.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Admission is granted via general national or a programme-specific examination to graduates of upper secondary vocational education programmes (EPAL) or upper secondary general education programmes (GEL).

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a higher professional programme, learners need to pass a final examination

Diplomas/certificates provided

Title of other type of typical tertiary education school (Ptycheio / Diploma)

Examples of qualifications

Actor, dance teacher, merchant marine officer

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

They can enter to:

  • higher education (tertiary) through a specific examination
  • labour market
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not applicable

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary VET programmes

WBL>60%

ISCED 453

Post-secondary VET programmes leading to EQF level 5. ISCED 453 Institouto Epagelmatikis Katartisis (IEK)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

2,5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Yes and No

At public schools, free of charge. At private schools, learners pay fees.

Is it available for adults?

Y

only for adults

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Full-time

  • school-based learning (2 years)
  • work practice (practical training at school or in-company learning)
  • internship or apprenticeship (6 months)

 

Main providers

Public or private schools supervised by General Secretariat of lifelong learning (GSLL) of the education ministry

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • apprenticeship or internship
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Successful completion of:

  • secondary apprenticeship programmes (EPAS);
  • upper secondary vocational programmes (EPAL);
  • upper secondary general education programmes (GEL).

Learners should be adults.

Assessment of learning outcomes

These programmes only allow learners to obtain an attestation of programme completion; alternatively, they can take VET certification examinations (practical and theoretical) conducted by the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) leading to an EQF level 5 certificate ([37]https://www.eoppep.gr/index.php/el/certification-exams/thesmikoiek
).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Diploma of vocational training at post-secondary level (Diploma epagematikis katartisis epipedou metadefterovathmias epagelmatikis katartisis)

Examples of qualifications

Accounting office specialist, nursing traumatology, computer networks technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

They can enter to Labour market

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not appplicable

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 5

Apprenticeship

1 year, WBL 100%

Apprenticeship programmes leading to EQF level 5. ISCED 453 Apprenticeship programmes offered by upper secondary vocational schools (EPAL)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

(only for adults)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Full-time

  • in workshops (1 day/week)
  • apprenticeship (4 days/week)
Main providers

Public schools supervised by the education ministry

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

100%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • apprenticeship
  • workshops at schools
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adult graduates of upper secondary vocational education.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

This programme is offered to those who hold an upper secondary school leaving certificate and an EPAL specialisation degree.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Degree of VET specialty (Ptychio epagematikis eidikothtas ekpaideusis kai katartisis)

Examples of qualifications

Vehicle technician, employee in administration and finance, technician of electrical systems, installations and networks, IT applications technician.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

They can enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not applicable

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Depending on the programme

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 5

KEE programmes

2.5 years

WBL>50%

 

Post-secondary vocational programmes provided by universities leading to EQF level 5 (KEE programmes – VET centres; currently not available)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

2,5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

(only for adults)

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Full-time

  • School-based learning (theoretical and laboratory training)
  • practical training (placement in a company)
Main providers

Vocational centres supervised by each university (higher tertiary education level)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Practical training (placement in a company)
  • workshops at schools
Main target groups

Programmes are available for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Successful completion of upper secondary vocational education programmes (EPAL)

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Diploma of level NQF 5

Examples of qualifications
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

They can enter the labour market

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not applicable

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

School-based VET

3 years, WBL>25%

ISCED 354

School-based VET programmes leading to EQF level 4. ISCED 354 upper secondary vocational education (Epaggelmatiko Lykeio - EPAL)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3
 

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Full-time

  • school-based learning
  • work practice (practical training at school)
Main providers

Public schools supervised by the education ministry.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>25%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Practical training at school

Main target groups

Programmes are available for graduates of lower secondary programmes young people and also for adults.

There are specific programmes for learners with special educational needs, such as moderate and severe disability. These programmes are offered by special vocational schools (ENEEGYL law 4459/2018 – state gazette A’ 142)

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners should hold a lower secondary school leaving certification (compulsory education) and be at least 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful graduates receive a vocational upper secondary school degree and / or a vocational upper secondary school certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Vehicle technician, employee in administration and finance, technician of electrical systems, installations and networks, IT applications technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

They can enter to:

  • higher professional programmes at level 5;
  • tertiary education at level 6;
  • post-secondary VET programmes (IEK) at level 5;
  • post-secondary VET apprenticeship programmes (EPAL) at level 5;
  • secondary school VET EPAL (different specialty) at level 4;
  • labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Not applicable

General education subjects

Y

All students attend general education subjects such as mathematics, physics, Greek and English language, history, gymnastics, ICT, religion, civic education

Key competences
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

EQF 4

Apprenticeship

2 years, WBL>80%

Apprenticeship programmes leading to EQF level 4. ISCED 353 Epagelmatiki Sxoli (EPAS)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Full-time

  • school-based learning
  • work practice (practical training at school)
  • apprenticeship
Main providers

Public schools supervised by the labour and rural development ministries

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>80%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • apprenticeships
Main target groups

Programmes are available for learners that have successfully completed the first year of upper secondary education; they can also be adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners should have successfully completed the first year of upper secondary education and be at least 16 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a final in-school examination (Law 3475/2006-State gazette 146 vol.B-article 11).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational school (EPAS) specialisation diploma (ptychio) (according to Law 3475/2006-State gazette 146 vol.B-article 12)

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, metal working technician, agrotourism and agroindustry businesses, dairy - cheese making

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression opportunities are significantly limited for graduates of EPAS apprenticeships programmes. They can enter to:

  • second year/class of school based upper secondary vocational education programmes (EQF4);
  • post-secondary VET programmes (IEK, EQF 5);
  • labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Depending on the curriculum of each specialisation.

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available