Karins calls to follow Estonia's example - a smaller number of schools, but higher teachers' salaries

  • 2023-02-17
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvia should follow Estonia's example by reducing the number of schools, which would allow to increase teachers' salaries, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said today during a debate at parliament on the 2023 budget project.

Saeima is reviewing the draft state budget project for 2023 in the first reading today.

Karins expressed in the debate that we all want to live better and in this context asked a rhetorical question on the one hand, whether as a society we can afford not to change anything in order to improve the situation. In order to achieve positive changes, it is necessary to make improvements in the education and healthcare sectors, the Prime Minister noted.

The prime minister drew attention to the need to make changes in the education system, where there is currently great inequality. He pointed out that if a student was born in the middle of the county or in a larger city, then they have the opportunity to study in a good school. However, it is a huge challenge to help where the level of education is below average, noted the Prime Minister.

The education system is currently an expensive but ineffective system, which is confirmed by comparing it with Estonia, Karins pointed out. The politician expressed that it is necessary to follow the example of Estonia, which reformed the school network - there are fewer schools in the neighboring country, each school has more students, there are fewer teachers in the country, but teachers have twice the salary.

The Prime Minister emphasized that this is the direction in which Latvia must also go for the sake of our children, in order to increase the quality of education.

Karins repeatedly drew attention to the disorganized health system, pointing to the contrast that a large part of the population does not have the opportunity to use private medicine, like those who sit in the Saeima and others with good salaries. Therefore, it is necessary to solve the injustice regarding the limited access to healthcare for people who do not have a high salary, the head of government said.

The politician agrees that there is insufficient funding for healthcare, but it must be taken into account that the system itself is also inefficient. In five or six years, funding of healthcare has increased from EUR 800 million to EUR 1.6 billion, but the queues have not halved and satisfaction of the system has not improved by a half, the politician said.

Karins expressed that additional funds should be invested in healthcare, but the system should also be reformed in order to use the money more efficiently.

In his address, the Prime Minister also focused on national security, strengthening military capabilities, competitiveness and facilitating exports, as well as other matters.

As reported, the revenues of the consolidated state budget for 2023 are planned in the amount of EUR 12.721 billion, while the expenses - in the amount of EUR 14.673 billion.

Compared to the 2022 budget, in 2023 revenue is expected to grow by EUR 2.025 billion and expenditure - by EUR 2.233 billion.

The draft state budget for 2023 is expected to be considered on March 8 in the final reading, which would ensure its entry into force on April 1.