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Education System of Latvia


Types of higher education institutions:

Universitāte (University)

Akadēmija (Academy)

Augstskola (Higher Education Institution)

Institüts (Institute)

Koledža (College)

School leaving and higher education credentials:

Atestats par arodizglītību

Atestāts par vispārējo vidējo izglītību

Diploms par vidējo profesionālo izglītību

Diploms par pirmā līmena augstāko profesionālo izglītību

Bakalaura diploms

Ärsta diploms

Augstākās profesionālās izglītības diploms

Zobārsta diploms

Maģistra diploms

Doktora diploms


Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 5

Age of exit: 18

Structure of school system:


Type of school providing this education: Pamatskola (Basic School)

Length of program in years: 9

Age level from: 7 to: 15

Basic Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Arodpamatskola (Vocational basic school)

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 16 to: 18

Certificate/diploma awarded: Apliecība par profesionālo pamatlzglītību (Certificate of basic vocational education)

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Vidusskola (General Secondary School), Gimnazija (Gymnasium)

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 16 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Atestāts par Vispārējo Vidējo Izglītību (Certificate of General Secondary Education)

Vocational Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Arodvidusskola (Vocational Secondary School)/Arodgimnazija (Vocational Gymnasium)

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 15 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību (Diploma of Secondary Vocational Education)


Type of school providing this education: Arodskola (Vocational School)

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 15 to: 18

Certificate/diploma awarded: Atestats par Arodizglītību (Certificate of Vocational Education)

School education:

After nine years of basic education, secondary education is provided in general secondary schools (3 years), vocational schools (2 to 3 years), and vocational secondary schools (4 years). General secondary schools award the Certificate of General Secondary Education (Atestāts par Vispārējo Vidējo Izglītību). Vocational schools (2-3 years) award Certificates of Vocational Education. Vocational secondary schools award a Diploma of Vocational Secondary Education which is also valid for university entrance.

Higher education:

There are 34 state recognized higher education institutions in Latvia. All the recognized institutions enjoy autonomy. Recognition of higher education institutions and programmes is based upon quality assessment, which is carried out as self-assessment followed by an evaluation visit with the participation of foreign experts. Higher education institutions confer academic degrees and professional higher education qualifications. Academic higher education programmes are based upon fundamental and/or applied science; they usually comprise a thesis at the end of each stage and lead to the degrees of Bakalaurs (Bachelor) and Maģistrs (Master). The Bachelor degree is awarded after completion of the first stage of studies. Since 2001, professional Bakalaurs and Maģistrs can also be awarded. The degree of Maģistrs (or its equivalent) is required for admission to doctoral studies. According to the Law on Professional Education and the Law on Higher Education Establishments there are several types of higher professional education programmes in Latvia - first-level professional higher education programmes (also called college programmes) and second level professional higher education programmes which are considered as "completed" professional higher education and lead to the second-level professional higher education.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Law on Education Year: 1999

Concerns: Educational regulations

Decree: Law on General Education Year: 1999

Concerns: General education institutions, programmes, credentials

Decree: Law on Higher Education Establishments (amended 2000) Year: 1995

Concerns: Higher education institutions, programmes, credentials, autonomy of higher education institutions, relations between State and higher education.

Decree: Law on Professional Education Year: 1999

Concerns: Vocational education institutions, programmes, credentials

Decree: Regulations of Accreditation Year: 1995

Concerns: Procedures of quality assurance and accreditation of programmes and institutions

Academic year:

Classes from: Sep to: Jun

Long vacation from: Jul to: Sep

Languages of instruction: Latvian/Lettish, Russian, English

Stages of studies:

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university level:

Since 1999, studies in "college programmes" of two- to three-years' duration leading to a first-stage higher professional education Diploma are available. These lead to Level IV professional qualifications. Holders are eligible to continue their studies towards the Bakalaurs Degree or a (full) Higher Professional Education Diploma. Second level professional higher education comprises professional higher education study programmes lasting between four and six years.

University level studies:

University level first stage: Undergraduate:

The first cycle leads to the award of a Bakalaurs (Bachelor' degree), which in most cases includes the preparation of a thesis. The duration of studies varies from three to four years. Holders are eligible for further studies towards a Maģistrs degree or higher professional education qualifications.

University level second stage: Postgraduate:

The second cycle leads to the award of the Maģistrs (Master's degree), a terminal qualification of higher education awarded one to two years after the Bakalaurs. This degree also includes the presentation of a thesis. The total duration of the course of study is no less than five years. In Medicine and Dentistry, studies are not divided into two stages but the degrees Ārsta grāds (degree in Medicine) - six years - and Zobārsta grāds (degree in Dentistry) - five years- are considered equivalent to the Maģistrs.

University level third stage: Doktors (Doctorate):

Doctoral studies are available at both higher education institutions and research institutes. A Doctor's degree is awarded three to four years after completion of the Maģistrs and following the public defence of a thesis.

Teacher education:

Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary school teachers (skolotājs) follow either a teacher training course parallel to their academic studies towards a Bakalaurs degree or a one- to two-year professional teacher training programme following completion of the Bakalaurs programme.


Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

Izglītības un Zinātnes Ministrija (Ministry of Education and Science)

Head: Ina Druviete, Minister

Valnu iela 2
LV 1050 Riga

Tel: +371(7) 047 810

Fax: +371(7) 213 992

EMail: izm@izm.gov.lv

WWW: http://www.izm.gov.lv

Role of governing body: Responsible for long-term planning of higher education, as well as for assessment, organization and administration and funds allocation

Augstākās Izglītības Padome (Higher Education Council)

Head: Baiba Rivþa, Chairwoman

Meistaaru iela 21
LV-1050 Riga

Tel: +371(7) 223 392

Fax: +371(7) 220 423

EMail: aip@latnet.lv

WWW: http://www.aip.lv

Latvijas Rektoru Padome (Latvian Rectors' Council)

Head: Andrejs Rauhvargers, Secretary-General

Raina Bulv. 19
LV-1586 Riga

Tel: +371(7) 034 338

Fax: +371(7) 243 091

EMail: andrejs.rauhvargers@aic.lv

WWW: http://www.aic.lv/rp

Augstākās izglītības kvalitātes novērtēšanas centrs (Higher Education Quality Evaluation Centre)

Head: Juris Dzelme, Director

Valnu iela 2
LV-1050 Riga

Tel: +371(7) 213 870

Fax: +371(7) 212 558

EMail: jurisdz@latnet.lv

WWW: http://www.aiknc.lv


Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Diploms par vidējo profesionālo izglītību

Name of secondary school credential required: Atestāts par vispārējo vidējo izglītību

Numerus clausus/restrictions: At the level of the institution

Other admission requirements: Access is regulated by examinations, by ranking of secondary diplomas or by interview, or a combination of these methods. Institutions can define which of the elective secondary education courses have to be taken by the applicant to enter a particular programme.

Foreign students admission

Definition of foreign student: A student who is resident of another country and pursues studies in Latvia.

Quotas: No

Admission requirements: Foreign students must present a School-Leaving Certificate (original) with a transcript which can be recognized as being equivalent to the Latvian secondary education certificate.

Entry regulations: Students must hold a residence permit. Latvian diplomatic missions abroad provide all the necessary information to the applicants, make an initial recommendation and issue entry visas to candidates who have been accepted.

Health requirements: A health certificate is required.

Language requirements: Students must prove proficiency in Latvian for programmes offered in Latvian.

Recognition of studies & qualifications:

Studies pursued in home country (System of recognition/accreditation): Credentials awarded upon completion of studies in accredited programmes of State-recognized institutions are recognized by the State.

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

Latvian ENIC-NARIC Academic Information Centre (Latvijas ENIC-Akademiskas Informacijas Centrs)

Head: Baiba Ramina, Director

Administrative officer: Laine Veite, Evaluator

Valnu iela 2
LV-1050 Riga

Tel: +371(7) 225 155

Fax: +371(7) 221 006

EMail: baiba@aic.lv;laine@aic.lv

WWW: http://www.aic.lv

Services provided & students dealt with: Recognition of foreign higher education credentials; consultations of Latvian higher education institutions on foreign educational systems.

Special provisions for recognition:

For access to university level studies: ENIC/NARIC evaluates a credential and issues a statement which serves as a recommendation for universities and other higher education institutions which take the final decision upon recognition for further studies.

For access to advanced studies and research: The Science Council of Latvia recognizes doctoral degrees awarded abroad.

For the exercise of a profession: ENIC/NARIC evaluates a credential and issues a statement which serves as a recommendation for employers (in non-regulated professions) or competent professional bodies (in regulated professions) which take the final decision upon recognition for professional purposes.As a candidate country for the EU, Latvia is introducing the EU directives for professional recognition.

Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: Agreement between the Republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania on the recognition of qualifications in the Baltic Education Space

Year of signature: 2000

Name of agreement: Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region (Lisbon Convention)

Year of signature: 1997

Name of agreement: ETS No 15 Council of Europe Convention on the recognition of secondary education certificates for university admission

Year of signature: 1996

References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies

Title: Higher Education in Latvia

Author: Latvian ENIC (www.aic.lv)

Year of publication: 2002

Title: www.aiknc.lv : information on accredited institutions

Author: Augstākās izglītības kvalitātes novērtēšanas centrs


National student associations and unions

Students' Association of Latvia (Latvijas Studentu Apvieniba)

Baznīcas iela 5-20
LV-1010 Riga

Tel: +371(7) 034 673

Fax: +371(7) 820 113

EMail: lsa@latnet.lv

Student expenses and financial aid

Student costs:

Home students tuition fees: Minimum: 700 (US Dollar)

Maximum: 5000 (US Dollar)

Foreign students tuition fees: Minimum: 700 (US Dollar)

Maximum: 5000 (US Dollar)


Principal national bodies responsible for dealing with international cooperation and exchanges in higher education:

European Affairs Department, Ministry of Education and Science

Head: Lauma Sīka

Valnu iela 2
1098 Riga

Tel: +371(7) 047 807

Fax: +371(7) 047 872

EMail: lauma.sika@izm.gov.lv

WWW: http://www.izm.lv

Participation of country in multilateral or bilateral higher education programmes

Name of exchange programme: BALTIC PILOT PROJECT

Name of exchange programme: BALTIC SEA PROJECT

Name of exchange programme: LEONARDO DA VINCI

Name of exchange programme: SOCRATES

Name of exchange programme: TEMPUS


Usual grading system in secondary school

Full Description: 10: izcili (with distinction); 9: teicami (excellent); 8: ļoti labi (very good); 7: labi (good); 6: gandrīz labi (almost good); 5: viduvēji (satisfactory); 4: gandrīz viduvēji (almost satisfactory); 3-1: neapmieriniši (unsatisfactory).

Highest on scale: 10

Pass/fail level: 4

Lowest on scale: 1

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: All higher education institutions use a 10-grade scale. Some use it in the same way as in secondary education: 4: pass mark; 8 highest "normal" grade, 9-10 special grades reserved for students who perform with distinction. To obtain grades 9 and 10, students usually have to fulfil additional (and more complicated) tasks in the examination.Some institutions however use grades 9 and 10 as normal highest marks and some use 5 or 6 as the pass mark

Highest on scale: 10

Pass/fail level: 4

Lowest on scale: 1


According to the amendments (1999) to the Law on Higher Education Establishments, professional Bakalaurs and Maģistrs degrees have been introduced in addition to the academic Bakalaurs and Maģistrs degrees as from 2001.

Data for academic year: 2004-2005

Source: Latvian ENIC/NARIC, Riga, 2005

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