Skola2030logoThe Ministry of Education and Science proposes changes to the education approach in Latvia in order to develop, approve and successively introduce such a curriculum and approach to education, which would develop value-based knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary in the 21st century. For the first time the curriculum is reviewed as a whole by introducing a competence-based approach, in a uniform system and successively at all levels of education, starting from the age of one and a half and up to grade 12. The National Centre for Education (NCE) implements the project from October 2016 until October 2021 with the financial support of European Structural Funds. More on the project: www.skola2030.lv (Latvian only).

How do we want to see each pupil in Latvia

The understanding of the knowledge and skills that will be needed in the society in the future is changing not only in Latvia, but also elsewhere in the world. Overall, Latvian pupils are good in tasks requiring to remember or act in known situations, however, they lack skills and experience to get deeper, process various data, work as a team, offer solutions for non-standard situations. Therefore, schools should attempt to offer children and youths such learning experience, which would results in pupil’s expertise or competence: the ability to use knowledge, skills and express attitudes in a complex way, solving problems in various real-life situations.

Background

On 25 September 2017, a document Education for Modern Expertise: Description of Educational Curriculum and Learning Approach was submitted for public consultation. It includes the objectives, main results to be achieved by pupils, curriculum, approach to the studies and organisation of the educational work at all stages of general education – pre-school, basic education and secondary education. For four months, until 1 February 2018 anyone interested could read the document and submit their own proposals and evaluation on https://www.skola2030.lv/apspriesana:

  • Pre-schools, schools and higher education institutions, professional associations or organizations of teachers, town or municipal methodological associations of teachers, business associations, etc. were invited to collect opinions of their members, the community and submit official proposals to the National Centre for Education until 1 February 2018.
  • Anyone interested, parents, businessmen, interest groups could make proposals also if their professional activities were not related to education. All submitted comments, recommendations and questions can be read on www.skola2030.lv/apspriesana in section “Priekšlikumi” (Proposals) (available only in Latvian).

Since the beginning of the public consultation in September 2017, expected changes in the educational curriculum and learning approaches have been purposefully explained to teams of managers and teachers of Latvian schools, managers of the area of education or municipality representatives of all local governments in Latvia, during meetings with different interest groups, as well as coordinators of all education content areas in cities, municipalities, associations of municipalities, with the purpose to evaluate the proposal and to receive recommendations for the improvement of the curriculum and learning approach:

  • in October 2017, approbation seminars were held for about a thousand of teachers of 100 Latvian pilot schools, which not only explained the framework of the new curriculum, but also the first versions of education programmes for subjects were submitted for approbation;
  • in November and December 2017, seminars about the organisation of educational work for management teams, including directors, of 100 pilot schools followed;
  • in November 2017, seminars were held for teachers, who were invited by local governments and agreed to become coordinators of education areas in the territory of their town/municipality/association of municipalities, thus reaching the schools and teachers, who were not involved in the approbation. 1000 teachers participated in these seminars. It is intended to gradually form a team of professionals in each municipality and town, who can use the materials and information about the new curriculum and its implementation obtained during seminars and available in the e-environment to explain it to their colleagues as well as to advance and support closer cooperation between colleagues in their area of education, also in the curriculum improvement and development;
  • in December 2017, managers of the area of education or municipality representatives of all Latvian local governments in Latvia were invited to seminars to involve local governments in communication and the implementation of the new curriculum and learning approach and to promote the creation of a long-term support mechanism for the implementation of the new curriculum, in particular related to the support necessary to teachers and schools;
  • the project team participated in important activities related to the development of the field of education, including conferences organised by higher education institutions and the conference of the Bank of Latvia devoted to education. Individual meetings were held with representation offices of different interest groups, for example, with the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees, Scientific Council of the University of Latvia, the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments;
  • in order to involve wider society, 7 discussion forums with participation of about 700 opinion leaders from different areas were held before the end of the public consultation at the end of January.

After the end of the public consultation and education expert evaluation of all the received proposals, the guidelines for pre-school education has been submitted for approval to the Cabinet of Ministers (CM).

Introduction of new curriculum – gradual within 5 years

The improved curriculum will be introduced gradually in the next five years starting changes in the next academic year 2019/2020 in pre-schools, but then successfully in the next levels of education. New state examinations for graduates of forms 9 and 12 will be mandatory for the first time after five years, i.e. in academic year 2022/2023.

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