In 2010, the cabinet of ministers (CoM) approved the Guidelines for optimisation of a vocational education establishment network for 2010-15. These guidelines aim to modernise vocational education provision and increase quality and availability of vocational education in regions. To achieve this, it is necessary to reduce numbers of State vocational schools (from 59 to 30), and to strengthen capacity of the remaining schools.
Vocational education and training (VET) reform is a priority of education policy in Latvia. It aims at high quality standards, flexible provision and better cooperation between stakeholders. The recent national education strategy 2014-20 foresees introduction of a modular approach and development of work-based learning in VET.
In 2010, the State Education Development Agency in cooperation with four partners – the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia, the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, the National Centre for Education, and the State Education Quality Service – started to implement an ESF project called ‘Development of sectoral qualifications system and increasing the efficiency and quality of vocational education’ (project period: 1.12.2010-30.11.2013). The aim of this project is to establish a qualitative vocational education content provision system that functions continuously and corresponds to the needs of economic sectors.
On 23 October 2012 the Academic Information Centre – Latvian national coordination point arranged an international conference ‘Upper levels of qualifications frameworks: should we include professional qualifications?’ in Riga.
On 8 May, the Latvian government approved the proposal of the Ministry of Education and Science to invest an additional EUR 88.2 million from EU funds in vocational education and science. This has been the most significant contribution to the development of Latvian vocational education so far.
During the international education exhibition ‘School 2012’ (1-4 March), the National Centre for Education arranged the ‘Young Professional 2012’ skills competition for vocational education students in Latvia. The event was held at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga, Latvia. This year 180 students from 50 vocational education establishments took part in 26 competitions.
A bilateral project called ‘5L – Enhancement of Lifelong Learning Cross-Border Capacity’ (No. LLII–102) was initiated in January 2010 and concluded with the final conference on 3 June 2011. The abbreviation ‘5L’ means ‘Lifelong Learning in Latvia and Lithuania’.
The European Inventory 2010 provides a unique record on how validation is already being used at national, regional and local level to address issues relating to lifelong learning, employment and social exclusion.
On 27 April 2011, the Academic Information Centre, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science organised an international conference ‘The European Qualifications Framework in Latvia’, which was held in Riga.