Education System in Latvia
|Primary||Basic Education||1–9||7–15||9||Pamatskola (Basic School)|
|Middle||Arodpamatskola (Vocational basic school)||16–18||2||Certificate/diploma awarded: Apliecība par profesionālo pamatlzglītību (Certificate of basic vocational education)|
|Secondary||Secondary||10–12||16–19||3||Vidusskola (General Secondary School), Gimnazija (Gymnasium): Certificate/diploma awarded: Atestāts par Vispārējo Vidējo Izglītību (Certificate of General Secondary Education)|
|Vocational||Vocational Secondary||15–19||4||Arodvidusskola (Vocational Secondary School)/Arodgimnazija (Vocational Gymnasium): Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību (Diploma of Secondary Vocational Education)|
|Vocational||Arodskola (Vocational School)||15–18||3||Certificate/diploma awarded: Atestats par Arodizglītību (Certificate of Vocational Education)|
|Tertiary||Undergraduate||3–4||The first cycle leads to the award of a Bakalaurs (Bachelor' degree), which in most cases includes the preparation of a thesis. The duration of studies varies from three to four years. Holders are eligible for further studies towards a Maģistrs degree or higher professional education qualifications.|
|Tertiary||Teacher education||4||Secondary school teachers (skolotājs) follow either a teacher training course parallel to their academic studies towards a Bakalaurs degree or a one- to two-year professional teacher training programme following completion of the Bakalaurs programme.|
|Tertiary||Postgraduate||1–2||The second cycle leads to the award of the Maģistrs (Master's degree), a terminal qualification of higher education awarded one to two years after the Bakalaurs. This degree also includes the presentation of a thesis. The total duration of the course of study is no less than five years. In Medicine and Dentistry, studies are not divided into two stages but the degrees Ārsta grāds (degree in Medicine) - six years - and Zobārsta grāds (degree in Dentistry) - five years- are considered equivalent to the Maģistrs.|
|Tertiary||Doctorate||3–4||Doktors (Doctorate): Doctoral studies are available at both higher education institutions and research institutes. A Doctor's degree is awarded three to four years after completion of the Maģistrs and following the public defence of a thesis.|
Latvian education is compulsory and free for children between ages 5 and 18. The first 9 years are spent panatskola primary schools that provide a basic academic education.
For the final three years of their schooling, academically-minded pupils may continue on to general secondary schools where they complete their university preparation by sitting for their certificate of general secondary education. Those with a more practical view on life choose vocational secondary schools instead, that culminate in certificates of vocational education.
Latvia has introduced a strategy of continuous vocational training which embraces the concept of life-long learning in order for everybody to remain up-to-date in job-related knowledge. It is hoped that soon half a million people will be participating in these paid programs every year.
There are 34 state-recognized higher education institutions, including colleges that offer programs of 2 to 3 year’s duration, and universities offering academic training leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The oldest of these is Riga Technical University founded in 1862 and previously known as Riga Polytechnicum. In additional to a flourishing business school, it has faculties of Architecture & Urban Planning, Building & Civil Engineering, Computer Science & Information Technology, Electronics & Telecommunications, Engineering Economics, Materials Science & Applied Chemistry, Power & Electrical Engineering, and finally Transport & Mechanical Engineering.