Country information for Latvia - Financing of inclusive education systems
The financing of educational institutions depends on their ownership. There are three types of educational institutions: state, municipal and private. The financing of educational services is stated in the Law on Education (Chapter 7).
The state-owned institutions are funded by the state budget according to the Law of State Budget for a specific year.
According to national legislation, every municipality is responsible for ensuring that all children who live within the territory of the municipality receive pre-primary and basic education at an educational institution close to their place of residence. Municipal educational institutions are funded from two main sources: the local budget (maintenance) and the state budget (teacher salaries). Since the 2009/2010 school year, there have been radical changes in general education. A new financing model – ‘money follows a pupil’ – was introduced with the aim of ensuring equal and transparent allocation of financial resources to cover teachers’ salaries, thus developing an optimal school network and allowing an increase in cost-effectiveness. According to this system, finances follow each pupil to the level of municipalities. Every municipality decides the distribution of available finances among educational institutions.
Learners with special needs can receive their education in mainstream schools and pre-primary schools, they can be included in either a mainstream class or a group according to the general education programme or special education programme. Their education can also be provided in special classes or special groups in mainstream education institutions. They can attend special schools which can be special boarding schools.
The financing of education for learners with special needs in mainstream settings is allocated according to the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers. The regulations ensure that financing for a learner with special needs in a special education programme is twice that of the financing for a learner in a general education programme.
For the financing of special boarding schools, earmarked subsidies from the state budget cover both maintenance and teachers’ salaries.
Private educational institutions are funded by their founders. The state and municipalities share the costs (teacher salaries) of these institutions if their curriculum is licensed by the State Service of Education Quality.
Pre-primary education is two-fold. The compulsory education of 5–6 years old children is covered partly by the state (teacher salaries) and by municipalities (maintenance). Local municipalities are completely responsible for the education of younger children, which is not compulsory. If a pre-primary educational institution has groups for children with special needs, the funding for teacher salaries comes from the state budget as an earmarked subsidy.
A new financing system in education – a so-called ‘backpack’ principle of financing – has been in place since the 2009/2010 school year. The funding follows a learner to the municipality level, where the local government decides on the financing of schools in their territory. This financing refers to the earmarked subsidy for teachers’ salaries and taxes. The maintenance of schools remains the responsibility of the municipalities.
According to this financing model, if the school has a licensed special education programme, it receives double financing for every learner in the special education programme. The additional financing goes towards hiring support team specialists and increasing teacher salaries by 10 to 15% if they work in special classes or special schools.
Various European Social Fund projects supported continuous professional development for teachers who worked with learners with special educational needs (SEN) between 2007 and 2013. The Ministry of Education and Science has been funding it since 2014.
All learners, including those with SEN, can participate in extra-curricular activities for free. No additional funding is provided to support learners with SEN to be included in extra-curricular activities (Source: Financing of Inclusive Education – Latvia Country report).
Last updated 05/02/2020