If we terminate colleges – will he discover happiness_ – Baltic Information Community

Opinion piece – Ilona Bērziņa, BNN

Latvian PM Krišjānis Kariņš has discovered a treatment for the issues that plague Latvia’s schooling system. He means that if Latvia reduces the variety of colleges, the nation can have what Estonia has now. The nation will have the ability to overlook about mediocrity amongst college students, lecturers will get wages worthy of officers, and new lecturers will storm the colleges to fill in vacant posts.

Sadly, the concept of optimising the varsity community was juggled a lot by earlier ministers of schooling, nobody believes it any extra.

Latvian Affiliation of Training and Science Staff (LIZDA) beforehand warned the federal government about potential strikes. However these strikes have change into a standard sight as effectively.

In nearly 30 years there have been roughly ten protest acts organised by lecturers over inadequate wages,

and virtually all this time talks about potential faculty community optimisation have remained energetic. If the varsity community is optimised, colleges which have a small variety of college students will go away, and everybody will likely be completely happy for some motive. Lecturers working bigger courses of scholars will likely be paid extra, municipal administrations will get monetary savings, officers will connect a medal to their fits for profitable optimisation of the varsity community, and youngsters will change into so good, they might get forward of Estonian college students in OECD pupil data score!

On the Saeima assembly of the seventeenth of February, Kariņš mentioned «the portion of the finances pie that goes to the schooling, is kind of the identical in Latvia and Estonia» and «principally our schooling system receives proportionally massive funding». This is the reason Latvia ought to observe Estonia’s instance and cut back the variety of colleges, which might assist enhance wages of lecturers. Equally to Estonia, the place lecturers are paid almost twice as a lot…

Let’s examine. After the compromise reached in September 2022, the bottom fee for lecturers in Latvia is EUR 1 080. In Estonia the minimal pay lecturers obtained was EUR 1 412 a month earlier than taxes till December 2022. Beginning with the first of January 2023 this quantity is EUR 1 749.

However even Estonian lecturers obtained pay rise because of a strike, and on this nation, like Latvia, there have been talks that the scenario is vital and plenty of lecturers take into account leaving their jobs attributable to low wages and an excessive amount of workload.

The Estonian Ministry of Training has composed a piece group that may give attention to finding out what this sector must reorganise the varsity community.

The federal government’s plan consists of, amongst different issues, the closure of one-tenth of Latvia’s colleges within the subsequent 4 years.

Nonetheless, if discount of the variety of colleges was sufficient to resolve the issues that exist within the schooling sector, then we now have to conclude that Latvia might attain Estonia’s degree pretty quickly.

In line with official statistical information from the Ministry of Training and Science, in 2021/2022 faculty yr there have been 660 common schooling day colleges in Latvia: 138 in Riga, 100 in Kurzeme area, 82 in Latgale area, 44 in Riga area, 127 in Vidzeme area, and 76 Zemgale area. There are 429 colleges in areas (together with juvenile correctional services), amongst which there are small countryside colleges.

In Massive cities, Riga not included, there are 93 common schooling day colleges. Statistical information from the ministry signifies the variety of colleges has below gradual discount for years (aside from the interval between 2012 and 2014, when there have been 807 colleges within the nation). Whereas in 1998/1999 faculty yr there have been 1 074 colleges within the nation, then it shouldn’t be tough to conclude that during the last 23 years a complete of 414 colleges have been shut down. These embody 50 elementary colleges, 265 main colleges and 13 particular schooling establishments.

The hopes of the closure of small colleges serving to to fill vacant instructor posts in massive colleges by no means got here to cross. Many lecturers of pension age merely determined to retire after the closure of their colleges. Information from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia signifies that in 2012 there have been 23 230 lecturers employed normally schooling establishments. In 2021 there have been 21 204 lecturers.

In Estonia there are 521 common schooling services which have greater than 14 000 lecturers. [Let’s not forget that as of the 1st of January 2023 there were 1 357 739 residents in Estonia and Latvia had 1 875 575 in 2022]. Discount of the variety of colleges in Estonia was an essential step, however not the one one. On the similar time, whereas making an attempt to enhance the standard of schooling, Estonia was additionally making an attempt to scale back social and financial inequality in accessibility of schooling.

Moreover, «the reorganisation of Estonia’s faculty community from the very starting was mentioned in a a lot wider context. The objective to make sure high quality schooling and applicable surroundings was all the time in sight, as was provision of fabric and technical sources, in addition to attraction of certified specialists and assistants,»as talked about within the evaluate by Saeima’s analytical service researcher V. Valtenbergs on the subject of Estonia’s expertise in letting the state take over secondary colleges.

A profitable faculty reform is unlikely to have landed in Estonia like manna from heaven. All of it requires applicable funding, however Latvia, in line with OECD Training at a Look 2022 evaluate, spends on formal schooling lower than common in comparison with different OECD member states.

If OECD spend a mean of roughly EUR 10 032.35 on a single pupil in main faculty and EUR 11 525.63 in secondary faculty, for Latvia these numbers attain EUR 6 940.65 and EUR 7 975.94 respectively.

It is without doubt one of the lowest funding quantities amongst OECD member states.

Definitely, the schooling system and lecturers’ wages need to be reorganised lastly. However we want to see an economically justified plan collectively developed by the state and municipalities to assist optimise the varsity community correctly and fairly. The right way to cut back the hole between the big colleges and smaller countryside colleges? How are we supposed to draw new certified lecturers?

Ultimately, we wish to see extra explanations as to what the Minister of Training and Science Anda Čakša desires to see from a ‘child-focused and environment friendly’ faculty community.

Additionally learn: Lecturers in Latvian municipalities with «non-reformed faculty community» can have decrease wages