Education in Latvia
Latvia offers competitive education. However, there is no opportunity to study in Russian, the whole program in pre-school institutions, schools and universities is taught in Latvian. You can also study in English. Some private schools offer education in French.
There are state and private schools in Latvia. Most schools are municipal. These are mainly local public schools where children enroll according to their region of residence. Education in urban and municipal schools is free. There are schools for children with special needs (for example, blind and deaf children) who need assistance that a regular school cannot provide with.
Education in Latvia is divided into primary, secondary and higher. The state provides complete secondary education.
The children are accepted in the 1st grade at the age of 6 or 7.
Basic education is intended for 9 years, then optionally the education can be extended up to 12 years.
Basic education in Latvia is compulsory. All children living in Latvia, incl. children from other countries must attend school from age 7 to the 9th grade or up to age 17. This is the minimum general education, which provides the right to receive secondary education or employment.
To register a child for school, parents must submit an application and provide a birth certificate of the child or a document indicating the child’s personal identification number, as well as the identity of the parent (guardians – a decision confirming the establishment of guardianship). A child must be registered at school when reaching the age of 5 years.
The headmaster is obliged to accept a schoolchild who has studied abroad. However, the school headmaster may require you to have a document confirming the content of the program completed by your child and the assessment of his or her academic achievements. If necessary, the school can test the child’s knowledge to decide which class to accept the child to.
The school may establish additional activities necessary for the successful continuation of the child’s studies in Latvia, for example, individual consultations or support in language learning.
The academic year begins on September 1 and normally ends in early June (the date may differ in private schools). School holidays are in autumn (one week), on Christmas time (usually two weeks) and in spring (one week). The exact vacation schedule is determined by the Minister of Education. Private schools may have a different vacation schedule.
Pre-school educational programs in Latvia are provided by kindergartens and schools. It can be both municipal and private educational institutions.
Children in Latvia receive compulsory pre-school education at the age of 5 and 6 years old, however they can start attending kindergarten even earlier – from the age of 1 year and 6 months.
The municipality you live in is responsible for the provision of municipal pre-school institutions or kindergartens. The education is free in these educational institutions, however, parents must pay for the child’s meals (the fee for meals is 1.5 – 2 EUR).
In private pre-school educational institutions there are no long queues. However, the fee for attending a private pre-school educational institution is about 300 – 400 EUR per month, including meals.
Parents can choose for their child any kindergarten with vacant places. When choosing a kindergarten, it is recommended to consider the location of the kindergarten, the methods of education and training used in it, as well as the language of education.
A child can be enrolled in a queue for free and in electronic form, using the E-Rīga portal (in Latvian), where you can also follow the progress of the queue. Often the child is accepted to the municipal kindergarten two or three years after the application is submitted, therefore it is advisable to enroll the child in kindergarten immediately after birth.
The information about private kindergartens in Riga is available here – http://www.privatapirmsskola.lv/en/
You can register a child in a queue for a place in a municipal kindergarten electronically on the municipality e-services portal www.eriga.lv, using the service “Register in a kindergarten” (Reģistrācija pirmsskolai). This can also be done in person by submitting an application to any branch of the Visitor’s Reception Center of the Riga City Council or to the Education, Culture and Sports Department (RD IKSD) of Riga City Council.
List of some bilingual municipal kindergartens in Riga:
- Riga pre-school educational institution Nr.125
- Riga pre-school educational institution Nr.149 Solnyshko
- Riga pre-school educational institution №161
Riga pre-school educational institution №104
Riga pre-school educational institution №141
Riga pre-school educational institution №145
Riga pre-school educational institution №112
Riga pre-school educational institution №152
Riga pre-school educational institution №172
Riga pre-school educational institution №191
Riga pre-school educational institution №193
Primary and secondary education
There are two types of secondary education programs in Latvia: the general secondary education program and the vocational secondary education program. General secondary education programs are academically oriented, their main task is to prepare students for further study at the university; vocational secondary education programs are more oriented towards obtaining professional qualifications.
Vocational secondary education programs (vocational schools and vocational secondary schools) offer professional orientation, for example, in art, music, commercial sciences or medicine. Each secondary education program includes 8 compulsory subjects and 3-6 optional subjects. The school may offer in-depth study of certain subjects of choice. Vocational schools do not provide complete secondary education, but it is possible to obtain a certain profession there.
The list of schools in Riga – https://katalogs-iksd.riga.lv/lv/izglitibas-iestades/skolas
Some private schools of Riga
In Latvia, higher education can be obtained both at state and private higher education institutions.
To enter the university, you need a certificate of general secondary education or a diploma of vocational secondary education.
In certain study programs, if a certificate/diploma of secondary education is obtained abroad, it must be submitted for examination to the Center for Academic Information (in Latvian). To enter a university, you may have to pass entrance exams.
The purpose of academic education is to provide theoretical knowledge, research and practical skills, preparing students for independent work in a chosen field of science or a related field of practical activity. Upon successful completion of the academic program, the student receives an academic bachelor’s or master’s degree or doctoral degree.
The purpose of higher vocational education is to provide theoretical knowledge and practical work skills, preparing students for independent work in a chosen field of practical activity in a profession that meets the standards of the profession. Upon successful completion of the professional program, the student receives a professional bachelor’s or master’s degree and/or professional qualification.
To obtain a state recognized diploma, both the university and its branches, as well as the study program must be accredited. The information on whether the chosen program is accredited and/or licensed can be found here – http://www.aiknc.lv/en/index.php
TWO UNIVERSITIES OF LATVIA ARE INCLUDED IN THE WORLD RANKING TOP-1000
Riga Technical University in the QS World University Rankings is among the universities with 651-700 place, and the University of Latvia from 701-750 place.
On the websites of universities in Latvia you will find a list of documents required for admission. The documents required by the university must be submitted no later than July 1 (the start date for accepting documents is approved by the Latvian Ministry of Education every year in March).
Almost in every district of Riga there is a children’s center for extracurricular hobbies. Children’s centers offer different classes of interest – floristics, ceramics, Lego, computer classes, oriental dances, theater studios … Normally, there are sports clubs in the centers.
A child can study in any group (or in several at once) absolutely free of charge or for a symbolic cost. The so-called co-financing from parents does not exceed 4 euros per month.
Attention! It is better to register in interest clubs and groups in Riga’s municipal centers already in August. The sooner you come to the centers, the more chances to get into free groups.
In Riga there are also a lot of private studios, courses and various clubs for children. It all depends on which area you prefer to go, in what language and in what direction. Very popular are language courses, clubs and studios in drawing, singing and dancing.
List of sports and art interest clubs of Riga https://katalogs-iksd.riga.lv/lv/izglitibas-iestades/interesu-izglitibas-iestades?lv/izglitibas-iestades/interesu-izglitibas-iestades
Some private interest clubs of Riga
Many of interest clubs can be found on the ads portal ss.com –https://www.ss.com/ru/for-children/hobby-groups-gardens/sport-sections/
Third-country citizens officially registered as unemployed in Latvia have the right to retraining, free language courses and other courses organized by the State Employment Agency.
You have the right to receive support if you:
- received a permanent residence permit in Latvia,
- are married to a citizen or alien of Latvia, and live in Latvia with a temporary residence permit,
- have received a permanent residence permit of a resident of the European Union in Latvia or are married to such a person,
- received a temporary residence permit in connection with the conduct of scientific work in Latvia,
- owner of a blue card of the European Union (for highly skilled workers).