The Latvian educational system comprises pre-school education, 9-year basic education, upper-secondary education and higher education. Formal post-secondary non-tertiary education in Latvia is classified within the secondary education level.
I. Pre-school education (ISCED level 0) : 5-7 year old children have to participate in pre-school programmes provided by general education establishments or kindergartens as a part of the compulsory basic education. The objective of the pre-school education is to foster general development of children and their readiness to enter primary stage of the basic education.
II. Basic education (ISCED level 1 and 2) : 9-year single structure basic education (primary and lower secondary education according to ISCED) is compulsory for all children from the age of 7. The curriculum is determined by the national basic education standard.
III. Secondary Education (ISCED level 3): There are two types of secondary education programmes: general secondary and vocational secondary education and training programmes. When admitting students to the secondary level education, schools are free to hold entrance examinations according to the basic education standard, except in those subjects for which students have already received a Certificate of the basic education.
IV. Post-secondary non-tertiary vocational education (ISCED level 4) : Vocational continuing or in-service training programmes can be acquired also after graduating general secondary or vocational education and training institutions (duration 1-2 years) or in vocational upgrading/ development programmes (duration not less than 160 study hours, which may be considered as a part of the qualification).
V. Tertiary Education (ISCED level 4-5) : The admission procedure is not centralized: each higher education institution has its own admissions board and criteria. From the year 2004 the entrance examinations are replaced by the results of the national centralized secondary education examinations.