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A growth model for Latvia: People First (approved in Saeima on 26 October 2005) is a long-term conceptual document, which sets a human-centred growth model for Latvia emphasising the knowledge, wisdom and abilities and making use of them as a growth resource. The priority long-term task is improvements in the education system, incl. ensuring that everyone is guaranteed the opportunity of getting secondary education.
The Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030 (approved in Saeima on 10 June 2010) as a hierarchically highest national level long-term development planning document includes a consideration about the need to change the paradigm in education and stresses the need to reduce early school leaving, setting a target of less than 10% “share of early school leavers” for 2030.
The National Development Plan of Latvia for 2014–2020 (approved in Saeima on 20 December 2012) is hierarchically the highest national-level medium-term development planning document. It sets medium-term priorities also in the field of education, including the target of 10% share of early school leavers aged 18 – 24 years among the population in 2020.
The Guidelines for the Development of Education for 2014-2020 (approved in Saeima on 22 May 2014) is hierarchically the highest education sector development planning document. In order to implement in practice the principles of inclusive education, GDE 2020 action line “1.4. Implementation of the inclusive education principle and mitigation of the social exclusion risk”, inter alia, envisages other activities focusing on identification of children and youths subject to the risk of social exclusion of children in educational institutions and beyond, identification of reason of the lack of education, as well as the development of activities for prevention or mitigation of the identified reasons, including with the support of EU funds. GDE 2020 emphasises that serious work is necessary to ensure preventive measures by the year 2020 for those students, who are at risk of early school leaving, as well as to continue the implementation of compensatory measures as the second chance education supply.
ESF support for the resolution of the early school leaving problem, which is planned to be provided within the scope of SO 8.3.4 of the Action Programme is one of the planned tools of GDE 2020 for the fulfilment of the tasks.
Laws and regulations
On the basis of Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 871 of 04.08.2009 “Procedures for Registration of Children who have Reached the School Age” (hereinafter – CM Regulations No. 871) all 5 to 18 years old children are monitored, gathering information on those 5 to 18 years olds, who are in the Population Register, but are not registered in any educational institution.
Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No 89 “Procedure stipulating how an educational institution should inform parents, municipal or public institutions if a pupil is absent from the educational institution without a justified reason” of 01.02.2011 (hereinafter CM Regulations No.89) envisages monitoring of pupils for absence without a justified reason (pre-school programmes – longer than 3 school days, general and vocational education programmes – more than 20 classes) in pre-school general education (including, if the programme is mastered as distance learning) and vocational education programmes, stating reasons of absence, number of classes (days) not attended, as well as activities taken by the educational institution and the local government in the State Education Information System.
From 16 March 2017 to 31 December 2022 Latvia will implement project No. 22.214.171.124/16/I/001 of the European Social Fund “Tackling early school leaving”. The purpose of the project is to reduce early school leaving among children and youths by implementing preventive and intervention measures in 614 educational institutions for pupils of forms 5 to 12 of general education institutions, as well as for pupils of forms 1 to 4 of vocational education institutions and general education institutions, which implement vocational education programmes. The State Education Quality Service is the project beneficiary and implementer and the total eligible funding is 39,812,376 euro, including funding of the European Social Fund of 33,840,519 euro and state budget funding of 5,971,857 euro. During the project, individual financial and advisory support will be provided to pupils subject to the risk of early school leaving, systemic support for identification and registration of the risk group, creation of a supportive learning environment, professional improvement of teachers and youth initiative projects.
At the moment new cooperation model is being introduced, including local youth organizations.
When conducting monitoring of children of mandatory school age in educational institutions and monitoring of long unjustified absences and work with children, who are not registered in educational institutions or do not attend classes without a justified reason for long periods of time, interinstitutional cooperation is implemented. Cooperation is established between educational institutions, local government education administrations, social services, orphan’s courts, municipal police, as well as state institutions – the State Inspectorate for Protection of Children’s Rights, the State Police, the State Education Quality Service.