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Wednesday 22.11.2017 | Name days: Aldis, Alfons, Aldris
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Dombrovskis' first 100 days: fires put out and foundations set

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Vyacheslav Dombrovskis

“The first 100 days of my experience as Education and Science Minister proved to be quite challenging – many fires were put out and foundations for future development were set,” – Vyacheslav Dombrovskis mentioned in his speech to his social and industry partners.

When taking his seat as minister, Dombrovskis noted that increasing the salaries of teachers is his top priority. LVL 10 million of funding have been requested as part of the new policy’s initiative to increase teachers’ salaries in 2014. An additional amount of LVL 537,112 will be allocated for the education budget in order to procure education materials this September.

The minister also noted that his plans include supporting regional schools where the number of students does not exceed 100 children. Even though the number of students in these schools reduces with each passing year, the ministry’s grants to schools remain the same, because grants per child increase. Because of the small number of students, regional schools require teachers that can teach several different subjects.

During these 100 days, the government developed and approved guidelines that allow education institutions free choice of the amount of hours they can pool into teaching a single subject. This depends on the school’s scientific direction and student needs.

Starting with the 2013/2014 school year, many education facilities under the ministry are using the dual element system in vocational education. It is planned to increase the proportion of practical education when working. The ministry has also implemented the adoption of work-based learning (WBL) practice. Students will also be paid for doing actual work in companies they undergo work practice. The first pilot projects of the dual education practice have been launched at: Riga State Technical College, Northern Professional Education Competence Centre Ventspils Technical College, Ogres State Technical College (PICC) and Jelgava Technical College (PICC).

The ministry also notes that it was responsible for the accreditation of this year’s university and academic programmes. A total of 229 were evaluated. The next evaluation is planned to be performed in the next six years. According to the minister, this procedure from now on will be entrusted to agencies that have the EQUAR certificate.

Following the minister’s initiative, the ministry is currently working on the development of a united graduates register to add to the databases of the State Revenue Service, State Employment Agency and State Social Insurance Agency.

The minister also emphasized that work with young people who do not have jobs or learn at any of the available universities, reduction of unemployment of youth, offering wide education and career opportunities are some of the ministry’s priorities. Additional funding of LVL 1.95 million has been requested for this purpose. It is also planned to allocate an additional amount of LVL 1.96 million for the purpose of raising the qualification of young specialists.

In order to increase the popularity of the state language and improve residents’ linguistic skills, the ministry plans to contribute to the creation of a Latvian language learning system – develop teaching methods and education materials, educate teachers and parents, etc..

In order to contribute to the teaching of Latvian education outside of Latvia and encourage re-emigration, funding for a new political initiative has been requested: for support of schools of the Latvian diaspora, families of re-emigrants/re-patriots/immigrants and support for their children to enter schools in Latvia.

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