The Latvian Educational and Scientific Workers’ Trade Union (LIZDA) has launched a Latvian National Plan linked to Education International’s global Unite for Quality Education initiative. In November, after discussions with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and UNESCO National committee, LIZDA, an EI national affiliate, decided to organise an Alliance to unite for quality education.
The National Consultative Alliance was established on 19 December to increase the understanding on quality education and ensure the improvement of the Latvian educational system. It will remain in place until the end of June 2015, coinciding with the end of the Latvian EU Presidency.
Plans were stalled when the national government resigned in November, forcing LIZDA to wait until the constitution of the new government in January to organise the next Alliance meeting, which took place on 7 February.
During this meeting, a Declaration of Intent and a work plan were adopted. LIZDA President Ingrīda Mikiško signed the Declaration of Intent which states that “EI is drawing the heads of state and society’s attention to the key issue of decreasing educational budgets impacting negatively on the quality of education and the launch of the Unite for Quality Education initiative in October 2013.”
The document also notes that EI’s European region, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), invites participants to provide high educational standards around Europe, emphasising that quality education is based on three pillars: quality teachers, quality teaching and learning environments, and quality teaching and learning tools.
Organisations concerned about the quality of Latvian higher education support and participate in the alliance around quality education. They have agreed to ensure:
• Sufficient funding for public education
• Accessibility to quality education for all
• Quality in-service training for teachers and education personnel
“We acknowledge our commitment to work together on topics of quality education in accordance with the basic objectives of the Alliance,” the Declaration of Intent says.
EI’s European region ten principles
At a press briefing organised the same day in the office of Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments in Riga, Mikiško introduced the objectives and working plan of the National Alliance “United for Quality Education, underlining that the activities are developed in accordance with the implementation of the ETUCE ten priority messages.
Evija Papule, Director of Educational Department, Ministry of Education and Science, highlighted some aspects of quality education and quality indicators in the national educational policy planning documents.
The General Secretary of the UNESCO Latvian National Committee, Baiba Moļņika, presented the new Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report, showing that Latvia is among those countries that made considerable progress in reaching set goals and improving EFA educational indicators.
The members of Alliance discussed the meaning of quality education in general, what elements to focus on in Latvia with regards to quality education, and how to measure the quality of education. Participants also discussed how education influences individual and social development, and the national and global trends in future education. The Alliance is open and invites other national educational organisations and partners to join its ranks. The Confederation of Employers, the Association of Latvian Education Headmasters and the Latvian Pedagogues’ Council have expressed their interest in joining the Alliance.
EI: Social dialogue vital
“We acknowledge our Latvian colleagues’ continuous efforts to ensure quality education and join in in the global one-year campaign we initiated in October 2013 via the setting up of a broad national alliance,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We urge Latvian public authorities to engage in social dialogue with organisations representing education professionals, and ensure appropriate funding for education, schools and teacher training and salaries, to ensure access to quality education for all.”
You can watch the press briefing about the setting up of the Alliance via online streaming here
For further information (in Latvian) go to: www.lizda.lv