The average full general education in Latvia includes the following main stages:
- basic education lasting nine years,
- the first stage of secondary education,
- the final cycle of secondary education, 3 years, carried out in the gymnasium.
High school education starts from the 10th class in the profile view class natural sciences, mathematics and humanities. Graduates who successfully complete the training and passed the state certification, receive a certificate of secondary education (Atestats par Visparejo Videjo Izglitibu), which gives access to enter higher education.
Basic vocational education (10-11) can be obtained in basic vocational schools and completed a certificate of Aplieciba par profesiionalo pamatlzglitibu.
Full secondary vocational education in Latvia
The duration of training is 4 years. While teaching at these institutions, after receiving basic education, the students, along with the development of the profession get secondary (complete) general education. Graduates of these schools receive a diploma of secondary vocational education (Diploms par profesionalo videjo izglitibu), which gives access to universities.
Higher eduction in Latvia
Access to higher education in Latvia is open to all holders of certificates of complete secondary education. However, the universities admission requirements determined according to the number of applications received. This may be the entrance exams in one or more subjects of profile (but not more than 4), the contest passports with an emphasis on majors or interviews.
In Latvia, there are two types of higher education. Law “On education”, adopted in 1991, established the difference between academic and professional educational programs, and adopted in December 2000, amendments to the law “On higher education” also established a distinction between universities and university-type non-university. The latter can only implement a professional training program, while the former can offer both academic and vocational programs.
Academic programs of higher education in Latvia (5 level ISCED) based on the study of fundamental and / or applied sciences; usually requires writing and sewn final work at the end of each of the steps leading to the award of a bachelor’s degree (Bakalaurs) and Masters (Magistrs).
Bachelor’s degree is awarded after completion of the first stage of university education. Duration of the program is 3-4 years or 120-160 Latvian credit / credits (180-240 ECTS units).
Master’s degree is awarded at the end of the second stage of academic higher education. Training programs can be designed for a 1-2 year training, ie 40-80 Latvian credits (60-120 ECTS units), for a total duration of training should be at least 5 years (200 Latvian credits). In medicine and dentistry (6 and 5 years, respectively) Bachelor and Master degrees are not provided, but the diplomas awarded a master’s degree are considered equal.
Master’s degree (or equivalent) is required for admission to the program leading to the award of a doctorate (Doktors), which is recognized in the international context as the degree of Ph.D. Programs provide training for 3-4 years, during which it is necessary to conduct independent scientific research, to pass the necessary examinations, published in scientific journals and international level to protect the prepared work.
In Latvia, there are several types of educational programs of higher education
Professional higher education programs is the first level (college courses) takes 2 years of study (80 teaching units) after receiving a complete secondary education. These programs are designed to prepare mid-level (level 4 vocational qualifications) for a wide range of specialties and end with the award of the Diploma of the first level of higher education.
Obtained at this level credits are taken into account in further education at the second level professional higher education leading to a diploma of the fifth level of professional qualifications.
Professional programs of higher education in Latvia is the second level which lasts 4 years (160 training units) after receiving a complete secondary education. These programs are considered to be final professional higher education and lead to a diploma of the second level of higher education.
In December 2000, the law “On higher education” was amended, under which it became possible to award a professional bachelor’s degree, if the total duration of the program is at least 4 years (160 Latvian training units, 240 ECTS units) and a professional master’s degree If the total duration of the program is at least 5 years, that is 200 Latvian academic units. Thus, the long process of reforming the education system has led to the creation of a symmetric system of degrees and qualifications.