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Six young chemistry and biology teachers in Latvia are awarded scholarships of 18 000 euros

on May 3, 2024

Latvia faces a shortage of teachers, with a critical situation emerging, particularly in natural sciences and technology (STEM). Recognizing the importance of young teachers and aiming to motivate other youths to choose the teaching profession, on April 29th of this year, three of the most outstanding young chemistry and three biology teachers were awarded scholarships of 3000 euros each by the Latvian pharmaceutical manufacturer AS “Olainfarm” and SIA “Centrālā laboratorija,” totaling 18,000 euros. In total, 33 young specialists applied for the scholarships. Based on the assessment of candidates’ achievements and motivation letters, this year the “Chemistry Between Us!” scholarships were awarded to Niks Grīnbergs, Agnese Bicāne, Tīna Deina Kukurīte, and Gustavs Daniels Loris, students of the University of Latvia, as well as Artjoms Ubaidullajevs and Alise Anna Stīpniece-Jekimova, studying at Riga Technical University.

“Every existing and new specialist who has decided to dedicate their life to teaching is an invaluable asset to Latvia. There is already a critical shortage of STEM teachers in many schools. The situation will not become easier in the future, as it is predicted that other European countries will also compete for Latvian teachers. Without teachers who educate and introduce children and youth to the exciting world of knowledge, we will not be able to create success stories in Latvia’s exports and achievements, as there simply won’t be anyone to teach and inspire children effectively and with quality. The conclusion is straightforward – without teachers, there are no opportunities for economic growth in Latvia. Therefore, it is important for us to practically support young teachers in their future paths and work, showing and proving that they are needed, awaited, and appreciated,” emphasizes Juris Bundulis, Chairman of the Board of AS “Olainfarm.”

“Chemistry Between Us!” is a long-term scholarship program for aspiring teachers initiated by “Olainfarm” in 2023 at the initiative of the company’s shareholders. The total “Chemistry Between Us!” five-year scholarship fund is 135 000 euros. Within the program’s five years, “Olainfarm” will invest 75 000 euros, awarding five 3 000 euro scholarships to young chemistry teachers yearly. Meanwhile, “Centrālā laboratorija” plans to allocate 60 000 euros for this purpose over the next four years, awarding five scholarships to biology teachers each year. Last year, five scholarships were awarded to chemistry teachers, but starting this year, the top 10 young specialists annually will be greeted with special scholarships. Six scholarships are awarded in spring, with four more in autumn.

“Biology is a subject that ignites the interest of young people to explore, analyze, and delve deeper. A motivated teacher can amplify this interest, and we want to see many such teachers. As a significant Latvian employer with more than 750 employees, we are already facing a shortage of specialists in the labor market. Even if demographic indicators improve rapidly, someone must still teach children and young people. The energy and creativity of young teachers in the education system are vitally necessary. We are genuinely pleased that 33 young biology and chemistry teachers applied for these scholarships, considering how few young specialists currently choose the teaching profession in STEM subjects. We hope that these scholarships will serve as inspiration for these young people and others to choose the teaching profession, which offers extensive career opportunities and will become increasingly valued in the future,” emphasizes Stella Lapiņa, Chairperson of the Board of SIA “Centrālā laboratorija.”

This spring, scholarships of 3000 euros from “Olainfarm” were awarded to Niks Grīnbergs, a student at the Faculty of Education and Psychology of the University of Latvia and a chemistry, physics, and geography teacher at “Rīdze” primary school and Riga State Gymnasium No. 3, Artjoms Ubaidullajevs, a student at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technologies of Riga Technical University and a teacher of an advanced chemistry course at the Engineering High School, and Agnese Bicāne, a student of the Faculty of Education and Psychology at the University of Latvia and a teacher at Jēkabpils 2nd Secondary School and Ābeļu Primary School, within the framework of the University of Latvia’s “Teacher Power” induction year project.

Meanwhile, “Centrālā laboratorija” awarded the 3000 euro scholarship to Tina Deina Kukurīte, a student at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia and a biology teacher at Smiltene Secondary School, Gustavs Daniels Loris, a student at the Faculty of Education and Psychology of the University of Latvia, and Alise Anna Stīpniece-Jekimova, a student at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technologies of Riga Technical University and a biology teacher at Elizabetes Āgenskalna Private Secondary School.

The regulations of the scholarship program and the application form are available on the project’s website www.starpmumsirķīmija.lv. The scholarship is awarded to students with the highest grades in the previous semester. Young specialists currently studying for a chemistry or biology teaching profession or studying natural sciences and concurrently teaching chemistry or biology at school were eligible to apply for the scholarship. Applications for scholarships are accepted twice a year.

Six young chemistry and biology teachers in Latvia are awarded scholarships of 18 000 euros