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Latvia to close down eleven schools for lack of pupils

Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia has adopted a decision to close eleven schools in the country by the new educational year, with another eleven educational establishments to be reorganized within the coming months, the ministry press office told EADaily.

These schools with 12-58 pupils are located in rural communities, including in Jurmala. Earlier, Minister Kārlis Šadurskis said they will have to close schools in the territory of the country, as there are too many small schools with an insignificant number of pupils in Latvia. The problem is that the population in rural communities is not large. The minister urged merger of schools in neighboring communities. Nevertheless, Šadurskis believes the primary education schools should be preserved, so that the children studying in the 1-4 forms could study not far from home.

Schools in Latvia have been closed continuously since the economic crisis of 2008. Since 2009, 98 schools have been closed down overwhelmingly in Latgale and Riga. In 2009 alone, 84 educational establishments were reorganized, with 57 being closed down. Two more schools were closed down in 2013 and another four in 2014.

Although the Ministry of Education and Science predicts a growth of the number of students in Latvia, this figure keeps falling so far. In 2014-2015, the number of pupils at the general and secondary educational schools totaled 209,912, which is half as much as ten years ago. At present, there are 76 schools in Latvia having some 50 pupils each. Another 250 small schools have about 100 pupils. Most of these schools are primary and basic schools for children to study not far from home. However, representatives of the big self-governments say they have to allocate money to keep schools with very small number of pupils, which is a heavy burden for them.

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