Latvia has too many high schools, study suggests

The current number of students in Latvia is sufficient for only 130 high schools, a study presented July 20 by researcher Jānis Turlajs suggests. There are currently 313 high schools in Latvia. 

The study (Latvian text), commissioned by the Education Ministry, says that if the school system were to be optimized, there could be 40 fewer high schools in Riga, which could be turned into primary and elementary education institutions.

In interviews with Latvian Radio and Latvian Television, Education Minister Kārlis Šadurskis (Unity) suggested that high schools should be scaled down so as to have at least 150 students, or at least two parallel study programs with 25 pupils in each class from grade 10 to 12.

"If we want to offer options to grade 12 students over the subjects they want to study in depth, so that a choice would be available and teachers could ensure these options, there must be at least the minimum number of students so that it works efficiently," Šadurskis said.

However regional schools could remain operational with as few as 60 students if there is no school in the nearest vicinity offering similar study programs.

More than a hundred schools could be affected by the reform, to be implemented gradually, the ministry said.

The criteria could be introduced within two stages lasting three years each, with the result that in 2023 city high schools should have at least 225 students, towns should have at least 150 and in separate cases having as few as 75 pupils in a high school could be allowed, ministry representative Evija Papule told the press on July 20.

Meanwhile Šadurskis said that this scaling down could allow raising the teachers' wages by about 45%.

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