Funding disparities hurt lower income students

  • 2011-11-02
  • From wire reports

RIGA - The most significant problem in the Latvian education system is the differing funding available for educating one student per specific territory, the Education and Science Minister Roberts Kilis (Zatlers Reform Party), said in an interview, reports LETA. Kilis noted that problems in the Latvian education system are on many levels, but one of the most significant issues for territorial development is that depending on the prosperity level of the municipality, its level of investment in education development also differs.

“If we divide the municipality-provided expenses to every student, the amount spent can differ even tenfold. This means that municipalities can invest  50 lats to 2,000 lats (2,857 euros) in the education of one child. This situation is unacceptable, but it does not mean that the funding has to be redistributed from wealthier municipalities to poor ones only because of education,” said Kilis.

He stressed that the education system in Latvia does not only have to materially differ, but, by taking into account differing income levels of families, also has to be compensatory, this means that the education system should help families with lower income levels. Also, there should be a similar approach to the quality of education in Latvia, which currently does not exist.
In order to change funding regulations, Kilis proposed a voucher or a state and municipality guarantee that unites the adjusted funding. If both fundings are combined and divided by the total of students, the average sum for one student would be 1,500 lats to 1,600 lats a year, said Kilis.