Pupil numbers enjoy temporary bounce

While parents and children prepare for the specifics of the start of a new school year on September 1, a wider picture shows a worrying decline in pupil numbers as part of Latvia's long-term demographic challenge.

The number of schoolchildren in Latvia has decreased almost 25 percent in the past twelve years, according to the Education and Science Ministry's statistics.

When compared to the 2006/2007 school year, the number of schoolchildren this year will be 23.45 percent smaller.

According to the Education and Science Ministry's projections, 214,414 children will go to elementary schools this year, including almost 19,000 first-graders, and 38,054 will attend high schools.

In addition, 94,249 children will be going to pre-school places of education.

According to Evija Papule, head of the Education and Science Ministry's Education Department, the number of schoolchildren this school year will be slightly higher than in 2016/2017 school year, which is mostly thanks to a higher number of preschool children.

However, the number of schoolchildren will then continue to decrease. According to the ministry's projections, the number of schoolchildren in 2020/2021 school year will be 24.05 percent lower than in the 2006/2007 school year.

Meanwhile, an online poll at the Education Ministry's own website is asking visitors what they believe makes a good modern teacher. The first three options are "leadership, charisma", "contemporary relevance" and "discipline and consistency".

However, perhaps unsurprisingly, the fourth option, "all of the above" is the clear winner at the time of writing. 

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