Publication: Latvia - Public Expenditures Review : Education Sector

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World Bank
This review has three objectives: (i) assess the education sector outcomes; (ii) evaluate the cost of the education program and the budget formulation process; (iii) identify areas to improve the efficiency of public expenditure on education and make medium-term savings. The Latvian government has demonstrated a strong commitment to education. With 7.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) allocated to education in 1999, Latvian spending on education compares most favorably to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards. Although reforms in the education sector are being implemented, the sector faces critical challenges. The education sector has resisted adaptation, in spite of significant shifts in the enrollment pattern. The number of preschool teachers and schools only slightly decreased; while the number of children aged 0 to 6 has been falling. With fewer children arriving at the school door, it is becoming harder for the education sector to justify maintaining small schools, very low student to teacher ratios and standard teacher's workload of less than 16 hours a week. In the immediate aftermath of its independence, Latvia returned to a highly decentralized form of local government. The administration and financing of general education were assigned to the smallest units of government, the pagast. In a country with 2.5 million inhabitants, there are 483 pagasts organized in 26 regions and 7 metropolitan cities. Out of these pagasts, 40 percent have less than 1,000 inhabitants, and 46 percent has between 1,000 and 2,000 inhabitants. The Latvian government is a direct provider of educational services on a large scale. At the general education level, the government provides 99 percent of education services. In higher education, public education establishments supply education to 87 percent of students. In addition to its direct role in the market for education, the government influences the demand for educational services through the provision of scholarships, grants and living allowances, and student loans, and the regulatory framework it establishes for private and public education.
World Bank. 2001. Latvia - Public Expenditures Review : Education Sector. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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