Being A Student In Latvia: 2016 vs 2017 – What Has Changed?
Education is one of the most important elements that can help a society move forward, and this is the main reason why every country is focusing on it more and more every year. This is also the case for the Latvian educational system. The latest thing to prove that Latvia is focusing on education is the visit of the Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis in Astana, where, on the 10th of July, he attended EXPO 2017, and discussed a series of issues with the Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan, including education. As the educational system changes, being a student changes too.
Reforms – Until now, foreign dental students in Latvia were required to speak Latvian and be proficient at least at the C1 level, no matter if they planned to work in Latvia or not. However, since the beginning of 2017, The Health Ministry has proposed for this rule to be changed, so that foreign students can obtain a dentist certificate once they finish their studies, even if they do not speak Latvian at the start of their study. Foreign students who wish to work in Latvia upon completion of studies will, however, be still required to speak the language.
Enrolment Rates – Compared to 2016, the enrolment rates in higher education for Latvia has dropped by 2%. Although this might sound like bad news for the country’s literacy, this creates more enrolment opportunities for foreign students who have initially been refused because of the high number of students applying for the same degree.
Funding – Funding for education has been a problem in Latvia for a number of years, but now the budget allocated to education keeps increasing every year. On the 23rd of November, 2014, the Saeima meeting took place, and the 2017 budget has been passed. It was also agreed that the budget assigned to education should be increased and this is set to continue into 2018. This will also increase the number of scholarships that can be offered to both Latvian and international students.
Tuition Fees – Although tuition fees are generally lower in Latvia compared to other European countries, in 2017 they have been lowered even more for certain specialties, as compared to 2016. This creates more opportunities for students coming from socially vulnerable families and families with a lower income. The accommodation costs are generally the same as they were in 2016, however, they are more affordable, as accommodation in Latvia, just like the tuition fees, costs less compared to other European countries.
Internship – For many years finding the right internship was difficult even in Riga, the capital of Latvia, but the number of internship opportunities kept growing every year, and the same thing happened this year. Compared to 2016, 2017 has more scope and variety of internships to offer. As a rule, placements begin in summer, and they can last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks.
Future Permit – Up until now the most predominant industries in the country were those of processed foods, textiles, wood products, processed metals, synthetic fibres, transit and electronics. This year, however, there has been forecast an increased demand in the construction sphere and sales, as well as processing sectors. This creates more career paths to choose from for the students that decide to work in Latvia after graduation.