LTRK: You can earn more only by investing in education, science and people – Market news

Latvia’s largest business association, the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LTRK), draws attention to the fact that the delayed government decision on the introduction of the compulsory natural science exam, influenced by the Latvian Education and Science Workers’ Union (LIZDA), contradicts the promises and plans for the country’s reindustrialization, science-intensive production and export, and does not contribute to the growth of the state’s welfare, because only by investing in education, science and people can you earn more and stop growing foreign debts.

For the past 20 years, businessmen have been calling on governments to improve the quality of natural science education, so that Latvia can develop a science-intensive, export-capable economy and build a society capable of judgment. Although the governments have supported these proposals and included them in their programs in the pre-election periods, in the post-election period these issues have been ignored or not given the necessary attention. As a result of long-term indifference, a catastrophic situation is currently observed – there is a shortage of exact science pedagogues in Latvia, more than half of those working in this field are of pre-retirement age, half of the secondary education institutions take the physics exam and 265 students pass it with good results, which has to fill 3500 budget places. Latvia ranks last in the European Union in terms of the proportion of natural science and engineering students. Such a situation is incompatible with the development of the national economy and the growth of a competent workforce, which Latvia needs.

High added value, internationally competitive products and services can be created by competent, educated and judicious people. LIZDA’s objections and the government’s subsequent decision to postpone consideration of the issue of mandatory natural science exams contradict the promises of the government representatives regarding Latvia’s growth, increasing exports and increasing the well-being of the population.

LTRK council member Normunds Bergs comments: “What is happening is contrary to the face-to-face talks about the smart reindustrialization of the country, science-intensive production and export. For the last four years, the government solved all the issues by showering them with money. Covid and doctors, the war in Ukraine and defense needs, benefits in the ripe energy crisis, and finally, the teachers’ salaries that have just been won by LIZDA. With borrowed money. Would not earn. Only by investing in education, science and people can we earn more. To be able to spend what you have earned. Because the busy one will end very quickly. So the science exam is the first step in a long, painful, generation-long process of reclaiming what has been lost. In addition, one cannot include in the party’s short program the compulsory science exam and then discard it, with the Prime Minister justifying it, that the exam should be introduced only when schools and students are ready for it. That “ready” means never. Because they were not ready for 30 years. Waited while everything slowly fell together. You can still make the right decision.”

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Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry