Basic Information about Latvia
Latvia is comparatively small country in North-eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea and is bound by Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia. It is situated on a trade crossroads and has long since served as a bridge between Western Europe and Russia. Nearly one third of the 2.3 million people population live in Riga, the capital of the country. The landscape of the country is marked by lowland plains and rolling hills. It has an extensive network of rivers, thousands of lakes and hundreds of kilometres of undeveloped seashore lined by pine forests, dunes, and continuous white sand beaches. The official language is Latvian. The most widely used foreign languages in the country are English, Russian and German.
The Higher Education System
The system of higher education is binary. Most universities and other institutions of higher education offer both academic and professional programs. Academic higher education programs are based on fundamental and/or applied science; they lead to a Bachelors degree and Masters degree. A Bachelor's degree is awarded after three or four years of study. The Bachelors degree is considered a complete academic qualification. A Master's degree is obtained on successful completion of a second phase of academic higher education, lasting one or two years. Bachelor's or Master's degrees are not awarded in medicine or dentistry, but a degree in medicine or dentistry is equated to a master's degree. Doctoral programmes have length of 3 to 4 years at different institutions.
There are six universities and a number of other higher educational institutions in Latvia. All the universities and 32 other institutions (including 18 colleges) are state-run. In addition, there are 22 private institutions (including eight colleges), all of which are state-recognized. All the recognized institutions enjoy autonomy.
The Latvian higher education system is open to international students. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia offers scholarships to students and teaching staff of several countries for studies and research work in state higher education institutions, as well as for participation in summer schools. The eligible countries whose citizens can apply for the Latvian scholarship are the following: Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Greece, Belgium (Flanders Community and Belgian French Community), China, Estonia, Israel, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, and Hungary. At present no scholarships are available for Singaporean students, but enrolment in the Latvian higher education system is possible.
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