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Young people can improve their business competences by getting involved in the projects of “Erasmus+” youth area implementing the following types of projects:
- Youth exchange projects (Key Activity 1) – these projects are based on a thematic idea, which the youth groups wish to implement together and which may be directly related to daily experience of young people. A youth exchange project has to be based on non-formal education principles and implemented through the methods of non-formal education. During youth exchange, participants with the support of group leaders jointly implement the work programme (a combination of workshops, practical assignments, debates, role plays, simulations, outdoor activities and other measures) that they have developed and prepared before the exchange. The youth exchange provides an opportunity to young people to develop various skills (including business-related skills and abilities). Youth exchange is based on a transnational cooperation between two or more involved organisations from different countries of the European Union or beyond;
- Mobility projects for youth workers (Key Activity 1) – this type of projects supports professional development of youth workers, implementing such measures as transnational/international seminars, training courses, networking measures, studies, etc. or carrying out “shadowing”/“observation” work in an organisation abroad that is an active participant in the youth field. All the measures are organised by organisations participating in the project. Participation of youth workers in such measures boost the capacity of their organisations. It is necessary to disseminate the results achieved in the project;
- Strategic partnership projects (Key Action 2) – the projects of this type provide an opportunity to organisations operating in different fields (NGOs, governmental /municipal authorities, educational institutions, companies, non-formal youth groups, etc.) to cooperate in order to introduce innovative approaches to the work with youth, to solve issues topical to youth and improve the quality of work with young people. Strategic partnership projects are international projects, and a wide range of activities may be implemented within the framework of them (activities promoting cooperation of organisations and exchange of good practices in the youth field; activities that facilitate innovative approach and development, testing or implementation of methods for work with youth; activities that facilitate recognition and approval of knowledge, abilities and skills acquired in non-formal education; activities that promote the development of the work with youth at national and international level; international youth initiatives). The priorities of the strategic partnership projects are to promote development of high-quality work with youth, facilitate participation and active citizenship of young people, as well as promote youth entrepreneurship, especially social entrepreneurship.
Section 1 Paragraph 21 of the Education Law establishes that formal education is a system that includes basic education, secondary education and higher education levels, the acquisition of the programmes of which is certified by a state-recognized education or professional qualification document, as well as an education and professional qualification document.
Formal education is usually divided into levels of education and types of education. The combination of such a division determines further options of an individual within the education system and legal regulation that is related to the educational institution (for instance, the procedures for establishment and accreditation, education of teachers, the contents of education, etc.). The levels and types of education may significantly differ among countries therefore their mutual recognition is one of the issues of the education policy agenda.
There are following levels of education in Latvia:
- Pre-school education
- Basic education
- Secondary education
- Higher education
There are following types of education in Latvia:
- General education
- Vocational education
- Academic education
Formal education usually is a state-provided service with institutional base developed by the state. It is organised in specially accommodated premises. Teachers with a certain academic or vocational qualification help pupils or students to acquire socially accepted knowledge there.
Section 1 Paragraph 141 of the Education Law establishes that non-formal education is educational activity organised beyond formal education in conformity with interests and demand.
Non-formal youth education is based on interactive learning – doing something that an individual likes and is interested in. The objective of non-formal education that is specified in Section 8 Paragraph 2 of the Youth Law is “to provide knowledge, develop skills, abilities and attitudes, as well as to promote comprehensive development of young people and active youth participation in decision-making and social life”.
Informal learning – learning that may take place consciously or unconsciously, acquiring new or supplementing the existing knowledge, skills, competences, attitude and values daily and at work that enrich and improve one's personality.
“Implementation Regulations for Activity 188.8.131.52 “Competency-based Approach to General Education Content Approbation and Implementation” of Specific Objective 8.3.1 “To Develop Competency-based General Education Curriculum” of Operational Programme “Growth and Development”” have been approved on 24 November 2015 (hereinafter referred to as the Regulations) The draft regulations have been developed in order to ensure approbation of general education content based on competency approach and implementation thereof at pre-school, basic and secondary education level, envisaging the development and approbation of the curriculum, models and methods for organization of learning process, diagnostic tools, contents of diagnostic work and pilot examinations, learning and methodological tools, as well as improvement of the professional competency of teachers for implementation of the contents of education in the learning process.
In 2015, the MoES established the “Work Group for Development of a Unified Model for Youth Non-formal Learning”, within the framework of which it is planned to develop a unified definition of youth non-formal learning, as well as to develop a unified definition of an informal education programme. The work group plans to develop written recommendations for the implementation of the above youth non-formal education programme in Latvia.
The competency-based approach is an approach that meets the demand of modern society that envisages the education process to include preparation of children (students, youth) for life in constantly changing circumstances. The competencies acquired within the process of education have to ensure the ability to react flexibly to changes and act successfully in order to reach personal and society's common objectives. The competency-based approach is based on the basic assumption that the ability of an individual to understand, forecast and react accordingly, use their metacognitive skills (to think about thinking), be independent (autonomous) in their thinking, be creative, be able to evaluate their actions and actions of others critically and take responsibility for their actions is significant for creative life in the modern world. The curriculum of the competency-based approach is characterised by the functionality, integrity and practical application of knowledge, explanation of the surroundings, universality of skills, creativity, problem solving etc. The learning process of the competency-based approach is characterised by acquisition of methods of activities (thinking, learning, etc.), basing in experience and acquisition of new experience, readiness to acquire further knowledge independently. The assessment of a student's academic success in the competency-based approach means dynamic assessment of the individual's competency at different stages and levels of education. The teaching aids for ensuring competency-based approach have to be interchangeable, open, transformable – all of which can be provided in digital format.
The most widespread youth non-formal education activities in Latvia are various camps, seminars and conferences, as well as organization of different activities, development and implementation of projects.
Pupil-Led Training Enterprise programme (PTE) is a special teaching method designed for pupils in grades 4–12. For pupils, it is an opportunity to acquire skills to establish and manage an enterprise, develop products and offer them to potential customers through actual work. On average, 22% of graduates of the programme have already engaged in business.
The MoES has recognised this method and recommends it to educational institutions as a teaching method that develops and improves business skills. The PTE does not have a legal status – in Latvia, they are represented only by Junior Achievement Latvia (JA Latvia) that holds a licence of Junior Achievement Worldwide programme. The licence also includes the Pupil-Lead Training Enterprise programme. Junior Achievement Latvia (JA Latvia) is a public benefit organisation and an expert on practical business education in the schools of Latvia. JA Latvia has been one of 37 members of the Junior Achievement WorldwideⓇ network since 1991. The European Commission has recognised JA Latvia as the only positive initiative in Latvia that ensures long-term and systematic business education to young people. Each year, JA Latvia ensures practical business education programmes to approximately 60,000 pupils throughout Latvia at all levels of education; the programmes are approbated in Europe and accommodated to the needs of Latvia. The organisation ensures improvement of qualification and continuing education programmes to the teachers of its member schools both in Latvia and abroad.
In academic year 2015/2016, JA Latvia has registered 869 PTEs that is the best result during the history of JA Latvia.
In recent years, it is emphasized in Latvia that business education at all levels may be a very effective tool for motivating young people to decide upon launching their own business and developing a successful career. It is important to support the creativity of young people, their ability to take a risk and overcome failures, as well as development of responsibility.