Ministry dissatisfied with Saeima's debate over school entrance exams

Take note – story published 1 year ago

A proposal recently emerged in the Saeima to ban schools from conducting entrance exams selecting the highest-achieving students. The discussion sparked controversy in society, following which the Saeima removed the question from its agenda. The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) indicated on March 30 that the Saeima has in fact made it difficult to organize entrance exams this year, Latvian Radio reported.

Until now, all the State gymnasium schools in Rīga, as well as some others, have organized a uniform entrance exam in mathematics. The intention was to ban entrance exams in subjects where the centralized exam is passed, and to base admissions on those results instead.

Following a decision by Members on Thursday, March 30, the National Alliance said on Twitter that it had removed the proposal to ban entrance exams from the agenda.

The Ministry said later in a statement to the media – by deleting that draft law from the Saeima agenda, the opposite result has been achieved. In particular, the Saeima has excluded amendments to the version of the General Education Law in 2018, which would allow gymnasiums to continue organizing entrance exams this year.

Members have therefore left a version of the law, adopted in 2018, in force, which prevents schools from conducting entrance exams examinations to organize entrance exams in subjects where there are centralized exams.

Education Minister Anda Čakša (New Unity) has invited the heads of State gymnasiums to a meeting on Thursday to deal with the issue.

The fact that the entrance examinations should not be abolished in all gymnasium schools was expressed by the principal of Sigulda State Gymnasium Rūdolfs Kalvāns, who also chairs the Latvian Association of Education Heads. 

“Specialised checks that would duplicate the topics of the State centralized exams – the most important is mathematics – this is the need for several Riga City State gymnasiums and maybe a couple of regional State gymnasium schools. It is methodically justified [..] The consensus between us, the heads of the State gymnasiums, is that it is necessary to allow these needs to be differentiated without imposing uniform restrictions,” Kalvāns said.


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