The Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA), ETUCE’s member organisation in Latvia, reported that the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia took the decision to reorganise the Riga Teacher and Education Academy (RPIVA) by merging it with the University of Latvia by the end of August 2017 without any prior consultation with education social partners. LIZDA considers the Latvian authorities’ action aimed at liquidating the RPIVA with its eight branches all over the country not beneficial for education personnel nor for students in Latvia. The Ministry justifies its decision by claiming that it chose the best option in order to focus financial resources on the improvement of education personnel’s education and training in Latvia.

LIZDA further reported that on 28 February 2017, the RPIVA organised a picket involving lecturers, LIZDA representatives and students, outside of the Cabinet of Ministers, to demand the Latvian government officials’ to put an end to this liquidation process.

On 6 March 2017, after receiving complaints from the RPIVA, its staff and students about the chaotic and hurried decision of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia,  Juris Jansons, addressed the Latvian Prime Minister, Māris Kučinskis, and urged him to repeal the approval of the decision on the RPIVA liquidation. Juris Jansons called on the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia to cooperate with other education stakeholders, including education social partners, when elaborating reforms to ensure beneficial outcomes for students.

Ilze Prizevoite, Vice-President of LIZDA, said: “The Ministry should pay serious attention in communicating about its reform plans with social partners. LIZDA will support RPIVA’s staff and students in all protest actions related to the Ministry’s unfair actions”.