Government approves new basic education standard

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The Latvian government on November 27 approved a new standard of basic education, developed by the Education and Science Ministry and intended to teach children competencies essential for life in the 21st century.

The new basic education standard and primary education guidelines, which the government approved already earlier, provide a framework for the improved curriculum and approach, defining the results that have to be attained in each study area. Based on this framework, schools can either use already prepared teaching programs or develop new ones.

According to the new approach, the teacher is the leader of the study process who not only gives knowledge but also guides the students until they find the right answers themselves. Cooperation among teachers and a joint planning of their work is also an important aspect of the new approach to teaching.

In the new education standard, the school curriculum is arranged in seven key areas: languages, social and civil sphere, culture and the art of self-expression, natural sciences, mathematics, technology, as well as health and physical activity. The schoolchildren are expected to learn the basics of each field so they get an overall understanding of the world and their place in it, as well as skills associated with each field. Special attention will be paid to preventing overlap and fragmentation in the teaching process.

While teachers will still be providing the students with fundamental knowledge and skills in various fields of human activity, the curriculum also includes teaching transversal skills and value-based habits in order to teach the youngsters to learn throughout their lives and follow their values in their day-to-day lives. The transversal skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, creative work and entrepreneurship, cooperation, civic involvement and digital skills.

Responsibility, diligence, courage, honesty, wisdom, kindness, compassion, moderation, composure, solidarity, fairness and tolerance are the main moral values to be taught at school according to the new education standard.

The new basic education standard will take effect on September 1, 2019, and the implementation of the standard in schools will begin as of September 1, 2020 for grades 1, 4 and 7, on September 1, 2021 for grades 2, 5 and 8, and September 1, 2022 for grades 3, 6 and 9.

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