For the work they have invested in the preparation of pupils, cash prizes in the amount of 100 lats were awarded to seven school teachers– Gaida Kuduma (Āgenskalns State High School), Ilga Krūmiņa (Varakļānu Secondary School), Ņina Pāvule (Rīga’s M. Lomonosov’s High School), Inta Augustāne (Rīga’s 3rd Secondary School), Felicija Leščinska (Viļānu Secondary School), Nadežda Sudeiķe (Rīga’s 53rd Secondary School) and Brigita Brūvere (Rīga’s 6th Secondary School).

The Deacon of the RTU Faculty of Material Science and Applied Chemistry, Valdis Kampars points out that in recent decades, natural sciences including chemistry have not been the most popular subjects among schoolchildren. As a result, fewer talented young people have chosen to study chemistry, physics and engineering science following completion of their secondary education. This, in turn endangers the process whereby a normal transition between generations takes place in production plants linked to chemistry and also in research institutions and universities.

“Whereas in former times, chemistry was an extremely popular science in Latvia, than right now the Latvian chemistry sector is suffering from an acute dearth of young specialists and in the next 5-10 years, the Grindeks company will require at 120 young specialists in various fields associated with chemistry,” admitted Grindeks’ board member, Vitālijs Skrīvelis.

The chemistry teachers were also congratulated by Education and Science Ministry State Secretary, Valdis Egle who stressed that he was “pleased for both the recipients of awards and also those issuing these awards, because the development of the sector is only possible through the co-operation of all interested parties and in this case, by demonstrating their recognition of school teachers, companies are single-mindedly promoting the development of the young specialists whom the chemistry industry so badly needs.”

The global medicines market is also growing very rapidly and in this context, pharmacy is afield with immense potential that is geared to the future and for which the requirement for highly qualified specialists is a vital pre-requisite for its ongoing development. Therefore, every year Grindeks plans new means of supporting efforts to ensure the influx of specialists who satisfy contemporary requirements into pharmaceutical manufacturing and the circulation of the Latvian pharmaceutical sector as a whole.

More attention has been directed towards secondary schools this year, because they represent the first stage at which children receive a serious introduction to the subject of chemistry. Teachers play a considerable role in this process and their ability to teach their subject in an interesting and captivating manner is an integral factor in the future choices of secondary school pupils regarding their future career. Therefore, Grindeks award winners are chemistry teachers from those schools from which the most pupils have entered the RTU Faculty of Material Science and Applied Chemistry this year.

This year, the Grindeks company has organised both ‘Open Days’ for secondary school pupils and a video film for schools about the opportunities for the chemistry industry and future career opportunities in pharmaceutical manufacturing. With Grindeks’ support, the Association of Latvian Chemistry and Pharmacy Entrepreneurs has also published a brochure for school children entitled ‘Chemistry and Us’, the purpose of which is to explain the major role of chemistry in the lives of contemporary people and to promote the interest of schoolchildren regarding the subject of chemistry. Both the video film and the brochure will be distributed in the near future as teaching material for Latvia’s schools.