Education is important! Everyone in Latvia has a right to education. It will help you and your children to find work they like and that corresponds to their abilities and skills.
All children have a right to free basic and secondary education. Minor asylum seekers, refugees and persons under subsidiary protection can acquire education in the official language at state or municipal educational institutions.
Nursery School and child day-care centres
If possible, bring children from the age of 1.5 to 5 to a nursery school – it will help them to develop, make friends with the local children and learn the language through games. The better your children know the language, the easier learning will come to them at school.
- After obtaining the status of a refugee or a person under subsidiary protection, contact the municipality or the particular nursery school to inquire about the possibilities for your children to attend it.
- Please inform about your wish for your children to attend a nursery school as soon as possible. There may be a waiting list for municipal nursery schools in the largest municipalities in Latvia, therefore, we advise you to put your child on the waiting list immediately after its birth or as soon as possible.
- Pre-primary education is mandatory from the age of 5. It is intended to prepare the child for school. Parents are responsible for enrolling their child in a nursery school or a school to acquire education.
- All children in Latvia must acquire basic education. Basic education is acquired from grade 1 to 9, or by continuing basic education until the age of 18.
- Basic education is acquired in primary schools and secondary schools, partial basic education is available in special primary schools that provide the first stage of basic education (grade 1-4 or 1-6).
- Adults can acquire basic education in evening or correspondence classes, or distance learning programmes for adults. Information about schools in Riga offering such programmes is available from Education, Culture and Sports Department of Riga City Council at Krisjana Valdemara iela 5; telephones + 371 67026678; + 371 67026816. If you live in another town in Latvia, ask for information from your municipality.
- The school provides students with textbooks. Parents to the extent of their ability provide their children with school articles — writing materials, paints, clothing, including school uniforms, shoes, etc.
- Ask you social mentor’s help to enrol your child in a school.
- Usually, various documents must be submitted – an application from the parents, former education documents, the child’s passport or birth certificate, identification documents of the parents, medical records of the child.
- If your child attended school, but you have no documentary evidence to that, the school will determine the level of knowledge of your child.
- If your child does not speak Latvian, the school will provide additional Latvian language classes.
Continuing education after acquiring basic education is not mandatory, but it is preferable to continue education to be able to compete on the labour market. If you have a certificate of primary education, you may enter a secondary school or a vocational school.
- You may choose freely the town, the school or the area of education you wish to continue.
- Secondary schools provide general secondary education. The general secondary education programme is divided into several areas of focus – the general course; arts and social course; mathematics, natural sciences and technology, vocational education. Once you have acquired general secondary education, you may continue studies in a higher education institution.
- If you choose a vocational school, you will acquire a profession. Many vocational schools offer general education along with the vocational education course. After graduating from such a school you can either work in the chosen profession or continue your education.
- Once you have acquired vocational secondary education, you may enrol in a higher educational institution for studies in the chosen professional area, or in any other higher educational institution or area.
After acquiring general or vocational secondary education, if you have sufficient funds at your disposal, you may study at a higher education institution. You can acquire academic or professional bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree.
- Foreigners, including refugees and persons under subsidiary protection, can study at higher education institutions in Latvia paying for the tuition.
- Higher education institutions offer study programmes also in English.
In Latvia, adults can take up studies to acquire a new profession or complete their education.
- Adults can study the same subjects as young people. They can study at higher education institutions, acquire vocational education, secondary education or primary education.
- There are evening classes for adults, who wish to acquire secondary or primary education. Classes take place mainly in evenings. That allows adults to work during the day and study in the evening.
- You can acquire basic and secondary education through distance learning. It means that you will be able to study at home at your convenience, take on-line classes and courses in the electronic media.
- Higher educational institutions also offer courses in evenings or on weekends, as well as distance learning.
- Adults can also acquire additional knowledge in various informal education courses. These include, for example, language courses, cooking classes, sports or dancing lessons. Usually you have to pay a tuition fee for the courses, but there are also some courses available free of charge.
- If you are unemployed, register with SEA, where you can attend courses and acquire a new profession or additional knowledge in your profession to help you return to the labour market free of charge.
Recognition of your previously obtained education
If you have any documents to prove the academic or professional education acquired abroad, these documents should be validated. It will increase your competitiveness on the labour market and help you, if you wish to continue education. Please contact the Academic Information Centre for recognition of your qualifications.