OECD urges Latvia to address NEET problem

1 Sep 15

The Latvian government needs to step up its education reforms to reduce the proportion of people under 30 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said. 

Its Investing in youth report for Latvia points out that in 2013 the NEET rate was 16.5%, the level it was at before the 2007 global financial crisis.

“To offer young people a career perspective, and to avoid negative (‘scarring’) effects of unemployment and inactivity on future employment and earning, it is essential to re-engage NEETs into education or employment as quickly as possible,” the OECD stated.

But the economic think-tank said this would be a major challenge as nearly one in three NEETs in Latvia were unemployed but not registered with the public employment service, or not looking for work without good reason.

“Education and training are key to reducing the share of youth who become NEETS and benefit dependent,” the report added.

“Latvia’s performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment is around or slightly below OECD average. Early-school leaving rates have fallen among 20-29 year olds, but remain particularly high for young boys and in vocational education.”

The OECD welcomed the government’s efforts to implement “a more modern and more attractive vocational system,” which will focus on training to boost young people’s job prospects. But the economic think-tank said the vocational educational training system (VET) remained nearly entirely school-based and the relationship between schools and employers was often weak.

It said that the country’s Youth Guarantee programme which was introduced in 2014 represented a strong opportunity to bring NEETs back into education or work.

The OECD proposed that the government tighten the links between programme participation and income support for young people and reinforce the rules for disability benefits for youths.

It also said government support should be enhanced to further reform the vocational education scheme by developing a quality apprenticeship system, while continuing to improve career counselling in schools. 

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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