6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training (ELET)
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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 2021–2027 (approved in Saeima on 2 July 2020) 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 5% share of early education and training leavers aged 18 – 24 years among the population in 2027.
The Education Development Guidelines for 2021-2027 (approved in Saeima on 22 June 2021) is hierarchically the highest education sector development planning document. In order to implement in practice the principles of inclusive education, it is planned to provide support measures for disadvantaged children and young people and preventive and intervention measures to reduce the risk of school leaving. It is planned to improve access to interest education and activities offered outside formal education, such as children and young people with special needs, as well as social risk groups.
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. 18.104.22.168/16/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.