The Latvian Ministry of Education is considering cutting budget items; can offer a co-payment – Baltic News Network

When considering options for higher education, the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) mentioned the possibility of ending budget and paid places in higher education institutions. Instead, the ministry plans to implement a co-pay system for most students, the ministry reports.

In order to promote the accessibility, quality and development of higher education in the country, the IZM has developed a conceptual report on the financing of higher education.

The ministry says it will come up with a more socially equitable model. This model offers partial state support to all students in higher education institutions instead of a budget and paid places. The ministry also suggests fully funding higher education from the state budget based on social and STEM criteria, health and pedagogy graduates.

IZM’s proposal is for a phased period of seven to ten years, moving to fully state-funded higher education. During this transition period, there will be a partially state-funded financing system (co-payment).

The ministry notes that the analysis of local organizations and international experts indicates that, despite some achievements, Latvia is not chronically utilizing the potential of its higher education.

If this potential is not exploited, Latvia will fall behind other countries due to insufficient human capital. The existing situation has also contributed to socio-economic inequality, which will promote social fragmentation in a long-term perspective. Latvia already experiences a high level of inequality. Without using education as an engine of the national economy and part of a far-sighted social policy, the development of the country cannot reach its full potential, which affects the quality of life of all inhabitants.

To reduce these risks and promote the economic and social development of Latvia, the IZM believes that it is necessary to implement complex structural solutions in higher education focusing on three directions: management, financing adapted to the objectives of this police and human resources.

The ministry reports that so far there have been reforms aimed at the internal management of higher education institutions, the funding of science, a new model for doctorates is in preparation. In addition to this, officials are also working on a new college career model.

In order to successfully reform the higher education sector and change it in line with the goals of state development and international competitiveness, it is necessary to improve the financing system of higher education, which will contribute to promote the quality of education, accessibility, as well as the efficient use of resources. , says the ministry.

To do this, the ministry proposes to develop the existing three-pillar model, improving its strengths and correcting its weaknesses. The main objective is to improve the quality of the system through the availability of resources and to shift the focus from process to results.

The IZM proposes to introduce social budgetary places for low-income students, guaranteeing everyone with this status free studies in public institutions of higher education.

Regarding STEM, full-time and part-time students could benefit from state-guaranteed co-funding. The co-payment for students would be 600 EUR per school year. The state may cover this expense if the student graduates.

The conceptual plans proposed by the IZM according to which the contributions of employers who finance the studies of their employees or pay an allowance will no longer be applied with the PIT.

In this way, IZM expects that employers will be more interested in investing in higher education and that new students will be able to consider the quality of different educational programs according to the willingness of employers to provide them. pay. PPI is already no longer applied to payments for employee training courses. This means that it is necessary to introduce unified principles.

The New Higher Education Funding Model calls for the state to double its investment in higher education by increasing public funding per student and increasing the funding available to higher education institutions.

One of the support actions planned to help strengthen excellence is the participation of Latvian higher education institutions in the European Universities initiative.

IZM plans to start implementing the plan from the 2023/2024 school year.