Latvia - Country Background Information

Describing the forms of education in the country

The EASIE data collection covers all recognised forms of education at ISCED levels 02, 1, 2 and 3.

This means any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector: municipality, local or regional educational provider from the public or private sector, working with/for ministries responsible for education and areas such as health, social, welfare, labour, justice, etc.

What is the compulsory education age range in the country?


What are the typical age ranges for the ISCED levels?

1.5–6 7–12 13–15 16–19
Is private sector education covered by the data provided for the country?

Private educational institutions that implement pre-school education programmes for children from the age of 5 until they commence studies in primary education and accredited primary and general secondary education programmes. The educational institution uses the State Education Information System (VIIS) to enter and confirm the number of students at the institution.

Identifying an ‘inclusive setting’ in the country

In the EASIE data collection, an inclusive setting is operationally defined as:

A recognised form of education where the child/learner follows education in mainstream classes alongside their peers for the largest part – 80% or more – of the school week.

The 80% time placement benchmark clearly indicates that a child/learner is educated in a mainstream class for the majority of their school week. At the same time, it acknowledges possibilities for small group or one-to-one withdrawal for limited periods of time (i.e. 20% or one day a week).

Very few participating countries can provide exact data on children/learners spending 80% of their time in a mainstream group/class. However, all countries can apply one of three agreed proxies that provide an approximation to this benchmark:

  • Placement in a mainstream class implies over 80% or more
  • Data is available on the number of hours of support allocated to a child/learner
  • Placement in a mainstream class implies over 50% or more.
What an ‘official decision of SEN’ means in the country

In the EASIE data collection, the agreed operational definition is:

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

Countries may have different types of official decision, but for all official decisions:

  • There has been some form of educational assessment procedure involving different people. This procedure may involve the child/learner, parents, school-based team members, as well as professionals from multi-disciplinary teams from outside the child’s/learner’s (pre-)school.
  • There is some form of legal document (plan/programme, etc.) that describes the support the child/learner is eligible to receive, which is used as the basis for decision-making.
  • There is some form of regular review process of the child/learner’s needs, progress and support.
Please describe what an ‘official decision’ is in the country.

According to the Law on Education, parents can choose what kind of educational institution their child should attend – a special school, a special class or a special group in a mainstream school, or a mainstream class.

Learners with special needs can attend any educational institution their parents choose.

The prerequisites for providing education to such learners in a mainstream school are:

  • Licensed special education programme
  • Availability of support specialists (special education teachers, speech therapists, psychologist, etc.)
  • Remedial instruction
  • Smaller classes
  • Appropriate assessment. 

According to the Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers, a second teacher should be provided when pupils with intellectual disabilities and severe and multiple disabilities are included in mainstream settings.

There are special education programmes for learners with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical disabilities, language impairments, mental health disorders, learning disabilities and long-term illnesses. These include the content of the mainstream education programme but the methods of instruction, support provided and additional services differ from mainstream programmes.

What educational assessment procedures are carried out and who is involved?

If they show considerable difficulties in mastering this curriculum and their academic achievements do not correspond to the requirements of the National Standard of Basic Education, then – with the parents’ consent – the learner is assessed by specialists (speech therapist, special education teacher, psychologist). The school’s support team can suggest support measures and the development of an individual education plan.

General Education Law (2005–2011) para 242 states that the education institution should elaborate an individual plan for each student with disability to acquire an education programme. Learners must be involved in the development of these plans.

If the above-mentioned measures do not work and the learner’s achievements do not improve, the learner may attend the pedagogical medical commission.

The school is responsible for providing appropriate support measures for learning.

Special educational programmes for learners with severe intellectual development disorders or several severe developmental disorders are provided for nine years. They are also implemented by drawing up an individual plan. Depending on the state of health of the learner and the possibilities of the educational institution, the education programme may be implemented over a longer period, but not longer than 12 years. 

Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 556 (adopted 19 November 2019, entered into force 1 September 2020) updates details on how to make individual education plan.

What ‘out-of-education’ means in the country

Within the EASIE data collection, specific questions examine children/learners who are out of education. This means children/learners who should, by law, be in some form of recognised education, but who are out of any form of recognised education. A recognised form of education is any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector.

Is there a formal definition of ‘out-of-education’ in the country?
Please describe which learners are considered ‘out-of-education’ in the country

Learners of compulsory education age (5–18) who are not enrolled (registered) on the list of any educational institution of Latvia (Cabinet Regulation No. 871 of 04.08.2009). This applies to children who have not completed compulsory basic education. In Latvia, only basic education is compulsory.

The list of learners of compulsory education age (5–18) who are not enrolled in any educational institution in Latvia is created by comparing the population register data of children of compulsory education age who officially live in Latvia with the data from the State Education Information System (VIIS) about children who are of compulsory education age, have not completed basic education and are registered in schools. The data is updated quarterly. Municipalities are required to gather information about these children and report in the VIIS the reasons why these children are not registered in school. Data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia on early school leavers aged 18–24 who are not in education.

Children who have emigrated with their families are mostly enrolled in schools in another country. Therefore, they are not considered out-of-school (OoS) learners (but the definition does not exclude these children from the total number).

Children with another citizenship who have a residence permit in Latvia, but who are studying in their home country are counted as OoS learners.

Only basic education is mandatory in Latvia. Therefore, data on children with basic education who do not continue secondary education or who drop out of secondary education institutions is not collected or analysed.

Local governments often have problems with data collection on why a child has not been enrolled in school. This is because there are families who change residences often, families who do not live in their declared location and families who leave the country without informing anyone.