Mandatory exam in sciences could be introduced in Latvia

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The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) has decided to ensure that an exam in one of the natural sciences will have to be taken upon graduating from school, Latvian Television reported on June 8.

Employers are alarmed by the fact that there are very few people with knowledge of natural sciences in the labor market, and statistics also show that there is a relatively rapid decline in the number of high-school graduates who choose to take physics or other science subjects as a choice exam.

In 2020, 896 graduates chose to take the exam in physics, 796 in 2021, and only 648 students in 2022, according to data from the State Educational Content Centre (VISC).

Employers' organizations have strongly demanded the introduction of a compulsory exam on one of the science subjects, considering that they will then be taught at a higher quality and that pupils will be more motivated to understand it. The education minister Anita Muižniece (Conservatives) has so far disagreed, but now has 'reluctantly agreed to compromise'.

"We've found a compromise. And the compromise is that by 2025, we will ensure that one science exam will have to be taken in high school at the end of high school," said Mujazniece.

Muižniece has already instructed the ministry's employees to develop amendments to the relevant rules so that it could be implemented from 2025.

The demand in the labour market for specialists in this sector is huge, but there is a relatively small interest in studies in this area. The dropout rate of science students is also rather high, LTV reported.

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