Latvia’s education responses to the influx of Ukrainian students
Latvia provides education programmes in seven minority languages and diverse opportunities of digital learning. It is now accommodating displaced children and youth who are forced to flee Ukraine as a result of the military aggression of Russia.
Every child arriving from Ukraine will receive education in Latvian or in a minority language at pre-school and primary level and do not need to pass state examinations.
For pre-school level, if there are not enough spaces in local public kindergartens for a child over 1.5 year, the child can enrol in a private kindergarten and the local municipality will cover the tuition costs.
Basic Education and Upper Secondary education
For basic education, an individual curriculum will be developed for each child to meet their needs, such as counselling, speech therapists, Latvian language support and Ukrainian language lessons when possible. The Ministry of Education stated that children would learn in Latvian incrementally and is planning to provide teaching materials to support this. While Ukrainian children are provided with education in Ukrainian in the short term, from next year onwards basic education would be provided in the state language.
In addition, Latvia is working to provide the option of distance learning in cooperation with Ukraine, based on parents’ preferences.
According to the new law from 15 March 2022, minor Ukrainian civilians are not required to pass state examinations. Pupils from grades 1-8 and 10-11 can be transferred to the next class without conditions. Grades 9 and 12 students who pass their exams will receive an educational document (certificate, attestation or diploma). Students across all grades have the right to re-study in the same class.
Minors have the right to continue their previous vocational education. To access vocational education, Ukrainian minors are also exempted from having to pass state examination (except for the professional qualification examination).
About 800 students are already studying at Latvian universities, and these could open about 1,000 additional study places to accommodate for more students.
Students who should have passed upper secondary exams this year are exempted from the examinations in Latvia. The Cabinet of Ministers is discussing regulations that would provide Ukrainian citizens with a different admission procedure in Latvian higher education institutions.
Ukrainians have a right to work as teachers, bypassing regular certification, only if they teach Ukrainian minors in special classes. To work as a regular teacher in a Latvian school, Ukrainians would need to get certified.
Vilnius University (VU) is ready to offer free studies and financial assistance to Ukrainian students whose their studies and higher education aspirations were disrupted.
The EU issued operational guidelines for the implementation of Council implementing Decision 2022/382, establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection (2022/C 126 I/01). As such, EU Member States shall grant access to their education system to persons under 18 years old enjoying the temporary protection status under the same conditions as their own nationals and EU citizens.
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