Latvian high school diplomas no good abroad?

Some foreign universities ask Latvian students to spend another year in prep school prior to enrolling. Is Latvian higher education worse than foreign equivalents, then? Latvian Television tried finding an answer in a story that appeared Sunday on LSM.

Olga Cara, senior researcher at the University College London (UCL) and who has worked for years researching and comparing education systems, told Latvian Television that the requirement to spend a year qualifying is not related to the quality of Latvian high school education. 

Latvia is not the only country the pupils of which have to spend a year catching up. For example, French diplomas are not good for studying medicine at the UCL. Students from France have either to spend an extra year prior to enrolling or take courses to catch up, said Cara.

In particular, physics, maths, and chemistry are among the subjects that perhaps aren't taught as thoroughly in Latvia as in the UK, she said. However it's up to the Education Ministry to define whether they want [to change the situation] and whether it's necessary and whether pupils demand it. 

Cara said that the Latvian education system has to serve Latvia, not the students who will be going to study abroad. 

Britu augstskolās izglītības sistēmas netiek salīdzinātas pēc kvalitātes, bet pēc programmās ierakstītajām apgūstamajām prasmēm.

While Jānis Briška, a student at Cambridge, said that the Latvian high school program makes it difficult for pupils to continue their studies at prestigious universities across the world.

He told Latvian Television that there are many more Lithuanian students than there are Latvians at Cambridge, and that is mostly because the university does not deem Latvian diplomas valid, so Latvians who do go there either have performed well at school olympiads or have spent a year at a university already.

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