RIGA - The number of students at Latvia’s higher education institutions has dropped 1.5 percent this academic year, according to the data released by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB).
In the academic year 2018/2019, there are 80,400 people studying at Latvia’s universities of colleges as compared to 81,600 students in the previous academic year.
CSB representatives noted, however, that for the first time since 2012 a slight increase has been recorded in the number of people enrolled for studies in 2018/2019. The number of enrollments rose 1.9 percent year-on-year, from 27,100 students last academic year to 27,600 in 2018/2019.
Of the students enrolled this academic year, 15,400 students or 55.8 percent are women. More than a half of the first-year students (55 percent) were non-subsidised, and studies of 45 percent of the students were state-subsidised, the CSB said.
Like in previous years, most of the freshmen (42.7 percent) chose programs in social sciences and humanities – 9,600 and 2,200, respectively. At the same time, positive trends were observed as the number of engineering and life science program entrants rose by 2.6 percent, including in IT and construction programs, whose graduates are always in the highest demand on the labor market. Health and welfare programs also rose in popularity, with enrollments in these programs rising 5.8 percent.
In the academic year 2018/2019, the number of educational institutions remained unchanged at 54 (29 universities and 25 colleges). Over the year, the number of students has dropped by 1,200, while since 2015 by 3,900. Social sciences and humanities still are the most popular fields of studies – chosen by 33,800 students or 42 percent of total enrollments, followed by engineering and science – 24.6 percent. Enrollments in health programs have grown as well – this academic year they were chosen by 12,500 students or 15.6 percent, up 16.5 percent over the past five years.
Since 2010, the number of Latvian higher education institution graduates has dropped almost by half. However, in 2018 higher education was acquired by 15,400 students, which is 5.3 percent more than a year before. Out of this number, more than one third or 5,600 graduates received their degrees in social sciences, business and law.
At the same time, the number of mobile students (those who acquired previous education abroad) has continued to growing significantly. There are currently 8,400 mobile students in Latvia, which is 11.7 percent more than last year and 60.8 percent more than in 2014 when such statistics was compiled for the first time. More than a half (51 percent) of mobile students acquired their previous education in India, Uzbekistan and Germany. In contrast to the gender proportions among Latvian students, the majority of mobile students (65.9 percent) are males. The largest share of mobile students (2,200) study at Riga Stradins University (RSU).