Education budget cut by 46.7 mln lats

  • 2009-03-11
  • TBT staff

RIGA - Valdis Dombrovskis, Latvian Prime Minister to-be and Educationand Science Minister Tatjana Koke agreed on a 46.75 million lats (66.52 mlneuro) reduction of education funding, the minister told journalists.

Teachers' salaries will be cut by 20 percent, which means that a full-timeteacher's wage will decrease by 60 lats on average.

Earlier, Dombrovskis had proposed to slash education funding by 69 millionlats.

Total allocations to local authorities for teachers' salaries will be cut by34.5 million lats, while funding to education programs will be reduced by 12.25million lats.

"This leaves us in a very hard situation, but it does not mean that wewill not work on the quality of education, only the targets will be balancedwith the existing resources. Local authorities say the administrative staff ofthe schools ought to be reduced substantially," Koke said.

The minister pointed out that the total amount of student loans for the nextacademic year will be raised by 11 million lats and there will be morescholarships, although their size will remain unchanged.

"I would like to encourage the young generation not to be afraid tostrive for education," the minister said.

In Koke's words, seven schools will be closed and 22 restructured ahead ofthe new school year.

"I think that students will not lose from that... the network of schoolwill become optimal enough... Both teachers and students will benefit fromthat," Koke said, indicating that both conditions and salaries could beimproved by cutting, for instance, heating and electricity bills.