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Use of European Financing for Development of E-Services, Information Systems, School Informatisation to Begin in Latvia

On September 23, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a list of high-priority projects that were prepared by the Secretariat of Special Assignments Minister for Electronic Government Affairs of Latvia. These projects relate to the development of the Information Society and e-services in Latvias and were submitted by the ministries and the institutions subordinated to them.


The priorities were determined on the basis of submissions of projects by the ministries and institutions, and they were arranged in order of how they relate to the development of e-government, avoiding duplications, overlapping, as well as taking into account succession and coherence of information systems. Also of importance was whether each project was related to the 20 basic E-services which the EU has recommended.

The list of projects covers 89 different subjects.  In accordance with the determined order, the institutions will be asked to file their first projects applications already at the end of this year.

The projects proposed by government institutions focus on such issues as education, culture, health care, employment, social security, etc.  Those services in these areas which are in highest demand are to be turned into e-services.  This will apply to the submission of applications to institutions of higher education, the issuance of environmental permits and licenses, various health care services such as outpatient consultations, registration for doctors visits and distribution of medical instructions, the issuance of construction permits, the provision of digital library services, and many other.

The government plans to launch several major projects under the auspices of the EUs Structural Funds for a total of LVL 116.4 million.  The focus will be on e-services and the states information systems.  The Infrastructure and Services programme has a sub-activity called Development of Information Systems and Electronic Services, for which financing from the European Regional Development Fund will amount to LVL 99 million, while the government will have to provide LVL 17.4 million that amounts to the total of LVL 116.4 million.  Project applications will be accepted from national government institutions, as well as the institutions and planning regions which are under their supervision.

The available financing will be granted to projects which will allow the people of Latvia to make use of modern information technologies in relations with the state receiving services electronically, seeking out information in the information systems of the state and its local governments, and handling relations with state and local government institutions as easily and conveniently as possible, says the Special Assignments Minister for Electronic Government Affairs of Latvia, Signe Blia.

She emphasises the fact that e-services are possible only if all of the relevant state and local government institutions work together:  People dont care which ministry or institution is responsible for a certain document, issue or set of information.  People need to have a clear sense as to where and how they can receive the services delivered by the state.  Thats why we must work with all relevant government institutions on information and e-service systems which will help people to deal with what I would call a fairly complicated labyrinth of legislation and information, says Blia.

She continues:  It is my deepest belief that the country needs a unified information and e-services network, and there must be a single institution which co-ordinates this process, as is the case with project co-ordination and oversight.

This is one of the most important programmes in Latvia in terms of creating universally accessible e-services, the minister adds.  Thats why my secretariat prepared the draft regulations for the Cabinet of Ministers.  Needless to say, we will also be monitoring the way in which financing is used.  There is a great deal that we can do with the money that has been made available, and I can promise that a lot will be accomplished.


The Secretariat of Special Assignments Minister for Electronic Government Affairs of Latvia also drafted rules on the computerisation of schools and the development of their internal networks in Latvia.  A total of LVL 12 million will be available for this purpose under the sub-project Informatisation of Educational Institutions.

One of the goals for our country and for the entire European Union is to develop the Information Society, and so one of the main functions for my secretariat is to organise and co-ordinate the implementation of national policy in this regard, explains Blia.  We cannot imagine the Information Society without educated people who learn to use the latest technologies while they are still at school.

The aim is to provide educational institutions with cost-effective, efficient, secure and trustworthy information and communications technologies (ICT) and the relevant infrastructure so as to promote the more extensive and effective use of such technologies in education.  General and professional educational institutions will receive portable and tabletop computers with licensed software, as well as multimedia equipment and local computer networks.  Of the LVL 12 million, LVL 10.2 million will come from the European Regional Development Fund, while the remaining LVL 1.8 will have to be provided by the Latvian government.

Minister Blia believes that the Internet, computers and multimedia equipment must be available at all schools, used to ensure the effective use of the relevant opportunities in educational processes.  It is key, she says, to make sure that students use technologies more for education than for entertainment.

It is important to make sure that modern technologies are available to students and teachers irrespective of social and economic circumstances, and I hope that all local governments and national institutions of governance will be actively involved in the implementation of these projects, says Blia.  She adds that the relevant institutions have been asked to prepare project applications, and the delivery of the relevant technologies could begin before the end of the year.

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