Latvia background information


How the official decision of special educational needs (SEN) in the country relates to the agreed EASIE operational definition

Operational definition

An official decision leads to a child/learner being recognised as eligible for additional educational support to meet their learning needs.


Criteria for an official decision of SEN

  • There has been an educational assessment procedure involving a multi-disciplinary team
  • The multi-disciplinary team includes members from within and external to the child’s/learner’s (pre)school
  • There is a legal document which describes the support the child/learner is eligible to receive and which is used as the basis for planning
  • The official decision is subject to a formal, regular review process

Educational assessment procedure in the country

Children and learners have to be assessed by psychologists, speech therapists, special education teachers, doctors for specific disabilities and child psychiatrists. They have to attend a pedagogical medical commission to receive an official statement with a recommendation on which educational programme they should follow. (Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers of 16 October 2012). Parents have the right to decide which school their child attends.

How the multi-disciplinary team is comprised in the country

The Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers from 16 October 2012 state which specialists should be involved in the multi-disciplinary team that makes the final decision about the recommended education programme. The team should include a psychologist, a special education teacher, a speech therapist and a medical doctor. There could be other specialists included in the team.

The legal document used in the country to outline the support that the child/learner is eligible to receive

The Law on General Education is the legal document that states that children/learners with special needs are eligible for support. Specific support measures are recommendations that should be personalised according to each child’s/learner’s needs.

How the document is used as the basis for planning in the country

The additional resources – both human and financial – are planned according to the required support for children/learners with special needs in special education programmes in mainstream settings.

The formal, regular review process in the country

There is no legislation about formal, regular review of the official decisions.


Proxy indicator for the 80% benchmark used for the country’s data collection

The EASIE work uses an 80% benchmark of inclusive education. This is defined as:

An inclusive setting refers to education where the child/learner with SEN follows education in mainstream classes alongside their mainstream peers for most – 80% or more – of the school week.

Proxy indicator used

Placement in a mainstream class implies over 80% or more.

Details on what the country proxy is

It is just based on enrolment – statistics are available about how many learners with statements of SEN are enrolled in mainstream classes.

Why this proxy was used

No other data is available.

Difficulties in using the proxy

This proxy is questionable in relation to learners with intellectual disabilities who are included in mainstream classrooms (20%), because during school visits it has been observed that these learners are placed separately for some lessons (e.g. mathematics, Latvian language).

Specific country issues in applying the proxy indicator

When learners with SEN are included in mainstream classes, they are included in general statistics and no other data on how the educational process is organised is available. Different schools may have different approaches to organisational issues, but these approaches are not reflected in statistics.


Detailed description of what ‘out of formal education’ means within the country

The 2011 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) defines ‘formal education’ as follows:

[…] education that is institutionalised, intentional and planned through public organizations and recognised private bodies and, – in their totality – constitute the formal education system of a country. Formal education programmes are thus recognised as such by the relevant national education or equivalent authorities, e.g. any other institution in cooperation with the national or sub-national educational authorities. Formal education consists mostly of initial education […] Vocational education, special needs education and some parts of adult education are often recognised as being part of the formal education system. Qualifications from formal education are by definition recognised and, therefore, are within the scope of ISCED. Institutionalised education occurs when an organization provides structured educational arrangements, such as student-teacher relationships and/or interactions, that are specially designed for education and learning.

(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011, International Standard Classification of Education ISCED 2011, p. 11).

Do the country definitions of formal, non-formal and informal education differ from the ISCED definitions?

No, Latvia uses the same definitions as ISCED.

How specific cases – such as home-educated children/learners – are considered

All learners are involved in formal education even if they are home-educated, as they belong to a certain school and this school is responsible for their education.

Children/learners who are considered out of formal education (meaning those not in formal education as defined by ISCED)

Out of formal education refers to a child who is registered in the municipality and has reached school age (7), but who, at the beginning of the school year, is not registered in any school. The municipality is responsible for ensuring that all children of compulsory school age attend school.

How the population of children/learners who are out of formal education is defined

There should not be any children/learners out of formal education. There is no form of non-formal education at the compulsory education level.


Provision of data on private sector education

The data collection covers all sectors of education, including numbers for the child/learner population in the private sector.

Private sector education in the country

According to the Law on Education, a private educational institution is an educational institution founded by a legal or natural person, with the exception of a state or local government educational institution, as well as a commercial company in which the state or local government holds a capital share, for which implementation of educational programmes is one of its types of activity.

Child/learner population counted for each relevant question

As private schools receive funds for providing compulsory education, they have an obligation to provide data about enrolled pupils to the Ministry of Education and Science.

Specific issues with providing data on private sector education and how these have been overcome in the data collection

Please refer to previous question.


ISCED level age ranges

The following are the most common (pre)school entrance ages and (pre)school leaving ages for the different ISCED levels:

Age range in the country at ISCED level 02 (pre-primary): 5 to 6

Age range in the country at ISCED level 1: 7 to 12

Age range in the country at ISCED level 2: 13 to 16

Age range in the country at ISCED level 3: 17 to 19


2012/2013 and 2014/2015 data background information

This country updated its background information for the 2016/2017 dataset. A PDF of the background information for the 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 datasets is available.

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