Small high schools to be phased out starting 2016

Explaining the plans to close or reorganize high schools that have few students, Latvian Minister for Education and Science Mārīte Seile talked with Latvian Radio on Thursday, saying that specialized high-quality education is in high demand but it cannot be ensured if there are few students in the classroom.

Seile said that, from 395 high schools, 31 haven't opened grade 10 at all, and 11 of these schools are located in Rīga. "Can we really ensure quality if there are six children learning in the whole high school?" asked the minister.

Theoretically, it is possible to ensure education for a single pupil as well, but the state does not really have the means to do that.

That's why, according to Seile, schools with few pupils should be phased out, and a concrete suggestion by the Education Ministry is closing classes with less than 12 children from school year 2016.

Seile said that the goal of a high school is to prepare pupils for studies in the university, and that the Education Ministry wants to focus on opening grades with specialization. Furthermore, the competition for places in some prestigious high schools in Riga certifies that there's a huge demand for good education.

Previously it was announced that about 80 high schools could be closed.

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