Schools are unlikely to reopen for the rest of the spring semester, but the length of the school year isn’t likely to be extended either, according to Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska (New Conservative Party) on March 31.
“It’s clear that the homeschool learning process will be protracted. And we think that in-person learning is unlikely to return to both general education and professional schools. Maybe some sort of nuances are possible in higher education,” said Šuplinska.
Next week the government plans on deciding what to do in regards to centralized exams – which ones will take place and which could be replaced by a school-year evaluation. Šuplinska said that in place of centralized exams universities could do testing.
The remote learning process is in its second week and hasn’t been without its challenges, especially for parents, but the Minister said the school year is unlikely to be impacted by additional tougher sanctions.
“More drastic measures have been taken in Malta. Malta has canceled all exams, they’re doing remote education, and they’ve announced that all students from 6th grade on have to stay for a second year. We probably can’t and don’t want to allow that in any case,” said the Minister.
As previously reported , about 3%, or 5,000 of Latvia’s school-age students have neither a computer at home, nor a smartphone with internet access, making remote studies impossible. A public-private partnership between tech companies and the Education Ministry will however seek to provide these students with smart devices to ensure they can still study during the coronavirus outbreak.
The ministry told the press March 19 that private partners LMT and Bite will provide a total of 5,266 smart devices for students, alongside calls and internet access. The ministry said it invites other companies to participate in the scheme to ensure access to remote education.
There are about 3,000 pupils in grades 1 through 5 without access to smart devices. For grades 6 through 9 the figure is 2,000 and 361 for grades 10 through 12.
A state of emergency has been declared in Latvia from March 13 to April 14. During this time studies across educational institutions are to take place remotely.