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Latvia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.1 Institutional overview

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the development and coordination of the implementation of education, research, sports and state language policies.

The Ministry of Culture is responsible for art and cultural heritage education in Latvia. Since 2011, the state agency Latvian National Centre for Culture The Centre for Intangible Heritage and Culture Education is responsible for education policy in culture and the cultural industries, and supervises public art education in schools.

One of the priorities set by the cultural policy guidelines "Creative Latvia 2014-2020" is to develop long-life learning and cultural education responding to the needs of employers.

In order to stimulate development of the creative industries, the Ministry of Culture has taken an initiative to analyse existing programmes in design and to develop new ones, including the setting up of a new school – the Design College in Liepāja (see also  chapter 4.2.3).

The major debate during 2009-2010 has been about the reform of public culture education schools. According to the plan, two education programmes are to be developed until 2014: the first level programme offers basic skills and knowledge in art and music; while the second level programme will provide extended curricula aimed at higher professional standards offering a possibility to continue a professional career.

These schools are co-financed by municipalities, the state and parents of pupils. Currently, primary arts education schools are founded and funded by the municipalities, while the Ministry of Culture pays for the salaries of teachers. As for secondary art education schools, the majority - 14 of 16 schools - are established by the state. In the future, it is intended to reduce state funding, passing over full responsibility to municipalities and parents.

The budget for cultural education has been cut significantly. In comparison to the year 2008, state subsidies for cultural education in 2011 have been reduced by about 40%. Notwithstanding the sharp reduction in public funding, the subsidies for cultural education still make up a significant share in the budget of the Ministry of Culture: in 2011, it is about 1/3 of the total budget (not taking into account the construction costs for the National Library). The majority of subsidies go to primary and secondary cultural education schools, while only 22% is used for higher education.

Following state independence in 1990, a number of changes took place in the organisation and curricula of art schools and universities – e.g. new programmes on the history of culture, traditional culture and folklore, theatre science, theatre and film directors, arts management, museology, etc. have been developed.

Chapter published: 08-10-2014

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