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The professional cultural education system in Latvia is created by the national government, local governments and private educational establishments, implementing vocational, professional secondary and higher education programmes. It ensures the education of professional artists and designers, musicians, dancers, specialists of cultural sectors and teaching staff.
The policy of the sector is developed by the Ministry of Culture, and its implementation is coordinated and managed by the Latvian National Centre for Culture.
Professional cultural education is the way for a child or young person to develop their creative potential, to spend free time, gain new experiences and skills. After graduation from professional vocational music or art secondary school, music or art academy students receive a professional diploma with a qualification.
Objectives of professional cultural education are:
- to develop children's and youth's abilities and talents;
- to provide opportunities to realize creative self-expression, to develop individuality;
- to provide opportunities to spend free time;
- to promote preventive work for the prevention of negative trends in young people's behavior;
- provide guidance in career choices;
- to provide additional education, suitable for practical work and life.
The fields of professional cultural education are music, dance, visual and visual plastic art, design, theatre, etc. It covers both classical and popular fields in music and dance, and computers and other modern technologies are widely used in visual art education programs.
The forms of activity used in professional cultural education can be very diverse: for example, group and collective classes, individual work, creative camps, master classes by famous artists and musicians, events, contests and quizzes, competitions, engagement in various creative projects and exchange education programmes, etc.
Since 2009 the Ministry of Education and Science has organised trainings for youth affairs specialists according to the Regulations No. 1047 of Cabinet of Ministers of December 16, 2008, "Procedure for the Training of Youth Specialists." The regulations stipulate that in order to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for the performance of professional duties, a youth work specialist shall, within two years from the first day of employment, acquire a basic training for youth affairs specialists for at least 80 academic hours.
In Latvia, requirements regarding education and training for teachers of hobby education and the improvement of professional qualifications and professional qualifications of pedagogues are set by the Regulation No. 662 of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia of October 28, 2014 “Regulations on the Education and Professional Qualifications Necessary for Teachers and the Procedure for Improving the Professional Competence of Teachers”. It states that the teacher is responsible for the improvement of his professional competence. The training is carried out in less than 36 hours in three years and is planned in cooperation with the head of the educational institution in which the teacher performs the pedagogical activity. The teacher can acquire the professional qualification by mastering programme “A” - the teacher improves the existing knowledge and skills in the field of his/her subjects or programme “B” - the teacher acquires the right to: teach other subjects or work at another level; to work as a teacher in a special education institution; to perform pedagogical activity if the person does not have a professional qualification of a teacher.
The improvement of the professional competence of teachers is financed by the municipality.
Concert organisations and theaters in which the Ministry of Culture is a state capital shareholder every year conclude a financial agreement with the Ministry of Culture. In order to promote the availability of cultural services for various target groups, it is planned to realise a certain number of low-cost tickets for students, pensioners, families with children and other disadvantaged social groups as well as to distribute a certain number of free tickets for charity purposes every year.