The Latvian school bag is the biggest present to Latvian schoolchildren for Latvia’s 100th birthday, said Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis at a press-conference. EUR 13.5 million is planned to be allocated for the education programme. As part of it, children will be able to study outside of schools to learn about important affairs in Latvia.
Project organizers say the new initiative will provide every Latvian schoolchild an opportunity to find out and experience natural and cultural values included in the programme, as well as learn about scientific accomplishments and business success stories.
Formation of an integrated education programme, transportation and entry ticket coverage will cost EUR 13.5 million or 40% of the funding of the five-year financing of the celebration programme.
«The funding of the Latvian school bag is planned to be diverted to municipalities in proportion to the number of schoolchildren to ensure effective use of funding,» Kucinskis said.
A large-scale study was performed in 2016. It proved that transportation and publication prices serve as a reason for why one-fifth of Latvian schoolchildren had not experienced any cultural events outside their schools.
In addition, out-of-school activities, including culture and history teaching largely depended on the teacher’s knowledge or level of initiative. The prime minister notes that the Latvian school bag initiative will help resolve this problem, secure funding and offer methodically accurate and educational events for children.
«One of the most marvellous gifts for the country’s hundredth birthday we can give is making objects important to our country and nation accessible for our children,» Kucinskis added.
All events associated with the celebration were created to improve existing and create new values for the future, as well as commence sustainable activities for children and youngsters in all of Latvia’s many regions.
«The hundredth birthday is an impulse for creating new values. This is why we wish to present the largest gift to all children and youngsters in Latvia. Latvian school bag will offer an opportunity to experience Latvia to every child, regardless of their home or financial state of their parents,» says Culture Minister Dace Melnbarde.
Mara Lace, director of Latvian National Museum of Art, says: «Museum visits mean new experience, which is especially important at early stages of a person’s life. I would very much like art to become a part of every person’s upbringing».
Work on the project’s development has been continuing in the Culture Ministry for years. Latvian school bag methodology and interdisciplinary approach is based on Norway’s experience. A similar initiative has been in place there since 2001. Pilot projects have concluded in eight schools of three Latvian regions – Riga, Broceni and Daugavpils.
Analysis of information provided by more than 670 of state, municipal and NGOs showed that the range of cultural offers is wide, but its coverage is very uneven in different art and cultural industries or segments. The lowest level of supply is noted on concert organizations and theatres, as well as design, architecture and dance. There are even less offers aimed at the teenage audience, Kucinskis explains.
To secure an integrated learning process, it is necessary to create a varied education programme for different age groups.