4 minute read



Latvia is on a path back to Europe; Latvia aims for a quick integration with the Western society. Certainly, the absence of central funding severely hurt educational establishments. The educational system in Latvia is experiencing numerous difficulties that influence the life of pupils, students, teachers, and professors. The quality of education is lower than it was, and this situation, while worsening individual lives, will echo in the coming years causing growth in unemployment, lower revenues, and a rise in crime. Nonetheless, national and ethnic liberation holds the promise that in 10 to 15 years, Latvia, a recognized and notable member of European society, will achieve its goals, and its citizens will succeed in their goals for personal development. With the idea of reintegration with Europe in mind, Latvia created The European Integration Council (EIC). Education is considered a major part of that integration process.

Since 1991, Latvia has participated in international educational projects organized by the Council of Europe, the Educational Committee Council of Europe: Europe at School (since 1995), the European Center for Modern Languages (since 1995), and the Education for European Citizenship (since 1997). Latvia also has been encouraging learning and teaching about the history of the Europe in twentieth century, in-service training programs for teachers, and the "CDCC Teachers Bursaries Scheme" (1996). In addition to language and cultural programs, there are technological and communication projects.

The main issues and problems the Latvian system of education faces are material in nature. In order to function successfully in the future, the system needs monetary assistance. Additionally, the educational system of Latvia is still fighting against Soviet influence; Latvia must reorient its citizens from Soviet ideology to free market ideology.

Another problem is the transition to the Latvian language as a state language. The need for language training and teaching is massive: textbooks, classes, schools, and faster methodologies of teaching are needed. The low level of teacher training is another significant problem. National standards for training and assessing teachers must be adopted to create a nationwide system of assessment and certification for newly trained teachers.

On the way to integration with Europe, Latvia must coordinate its standards, statistical data, and understanding of European education, which requires renaming and retraining. There has been a clear decline in the education figures of the 1990s, and these figures must be converted to the accepted European standard.

Finally, serious reforms need allies. Latvian educators need methods, research, and successes to help future generations flourish. This demonstrates to perspective investors and the Western society that Latvia and its educators are on the right path—the path to the future where they can achieve the goals set forward by the government and Latvian visionaries.


Aleinikov, Andrei G. "First Class Science in the Third World Environment: the Tragedy of Russians." The Third World: On the Brink of the Twenty-First Century. 14th Annual Meeting Association of Third World Studies, October 1996.

——. "Theoretical Foundations of Creative Linguistics." Doctor of Sciences Dissertation, Moscow Military University, 1992.

Bollag, Burton. "For Educators in the Baltic, Overcoming Soviet Legacy Is Harder than Expected." Chronicle of Higher Education 38/10 (October 1991): A40-42.

——. "Baltic Universities Struggle to Modernize their Programs." Chronicle of Higher Education 43/39 (June 1997): A39-40.

——. "Baltic Nations Move to End Soviet-era Separation of Research and Education." Chronicle of Higher Education 43/39 (June 1997): A40.

Dakin, Mary I. Nationalism and Democratization: The Case of Ethnic Russians in Newly Independent Latvia. Washington, DC: National Council for Soviet and East European Research, 1992.

Desruisseaux, P. "Freedom for the Baltics Prompts a Flurry of Academic Contacts." Chronicle of Higher Education 38/12 (November 1991): A43-44.

Dreifelds, Juris. Latvia in Transition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Education in Latvia. Academic Information Centre—Latvia ENIC/NARIC, 1997.

Hennig, Detlef. "Foreign-Language Teaching in the Baltic Republics in the Past and Present." European Education 26/3 (Fall 1994): 49-58.

Karklins, Rasma. Ethnopolitics and Transition to Democracy: The Collapse of the USSR and Latvia. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1994.

Kaza, Juris. "Retired Canadian Professor Takes Latvia's Helmet." Christian Science Monitor 91/154 (July 1999): 7.

"Latvia." ISEP Institutions Web site, 11 April 2001. Available from http://www.isep.org/nus/latvia/.

"Latvia." The Europa World Year Book. London: Europa Publications Limited, 2000.

"Latvia University." Latvijas Universitate Web site, 11 April 2001. Available from http://www.lu.lv.

"Latvian Council of Science." Latvian Council of Science Web site, 11 April 2001. Available from http://www.lu.lv.

Law on Higher Education Establishments. Riga: Latvian Parliament, 1995.

Lieven, Anatol. The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Path to Independence. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Massey, A.T. "International Notes: Latvia Curbs Use of Russian for Instruction." Chronicle of Higher Education 37/44 (July 1991): A30.

"Nations of the World: Latvia." World Almanac & Book of Facts 2001, 1999.

Smith, Gragam. The Baltic States: the National Self-determination of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

Titma, M. K. Winners and Losers in the Post-communist Transition: New Evidence from Latvia. Washington, DC: National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, 1999.

West, Richard, and Johanna Crighton. "Examination Reform in Central and Eastern Europe." Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice 6/2 (July 1999): 271-290.

—Andrei G. Aleinikov

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceLatvia - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education