State Audit criticizes future adult education strategies

The State Audit Office (VK) has expressed objections to two draft laws related to the future organization of adult education - the Human Capital Development Strategy for 2024-2027 and the Cabinet of Ministers Regulations on the Adult Education Project implemented by the State Education Development Agency (VIAA), the VK said March 13.

The draft legislation foresees that both the State Employment Agency (NVA) and the State Education Development Agency (VIAA) will continue to plan and deliver adult training in the new EU funds programming period 2021-2027.

The Audit Office maintains the view that the NVA and the VIAA do the same things in both the planning and implementation of training and that there are no objective obstacles to these functions being carried out by a single institution.

By moving away from the line ministry approach of each ministry having its "own" funds project and consolidating processes, staff, and IT resources, at least €3.6 million could be saved and the already limited funds for adult education could be avoided being used unproductively, the VK pointed out.

Secondly, the draft strategy on human capital development states an objective to retrain 50,000 low-skilled persons by 2027. It is currently unclear how this result is planned to be achieved as the draft Human Capital Development Strategy does not envisage targeted measures for the involvement of low-skilled or low-educated persons in adult education. Information marketing campaigns to promote adult education have been identified as the only activity.

Thirdly, the draft Human Capital Development Strategy envisages strengthening the involvement of local governments in adult education.

“The solution in which municipalities are cooperative partners of the VIAA [..] was already found ineffective in the audit,” said State Audit Office representative Maija Āboliņa. Most municipalities were responsible for adult education in the past. However, for the most part, these tasks were assigned to employees only as additional tasks and were mainly related to the training organized by the municipality itself and various public education projects, not to promote the involvement of priority target groups in the VIAA and NVA projects.

The State Audit concludes that without changing the solution fundamentally, there will be no changes in the outreach and success in Latvia's adult education.

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