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Home ABOUT LASE Latvian Academy of Sport Education History

Latvian Academy of Sport Education

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On September 6, 2021 the Latvian Academy of Sport Education celebrated its 100 anniversary of Latvian higher sports education in general and its foundation in particular.

The necessity for establishing a special education institution arose in spring 1919, when progressive press of that time noted that physical education theoretical issues and forms of its organization require their scientific foundations. The Latvian Ministry of Education accepted this necessity of society, and on September 6, 1921 the Cabinet of Ministers decided to establish the Latvian Institute of Physical Education (LFII). Student theoretical education was started in Riga, Nikolaja (now: Valdemara) Street 1, and practice sessions were organized in school gyms and stadiums.

The goal of the Institute was to train teachers of physical education, work out theoretical and practical issues of physical education, supervision of physical development and physical education in the country. The first leader of the Institute was Rumpmuiža school teacher Mārtiņš Krūze (Martin Kruze). Institute training lasted for two years and involved 1400 hours of theoretical and practical study courses. In specialist preparation emphasis was put on their practical training, which accounted for 65.3% of the study volume. In turn, in practical preparation gymnastics and physical activities, connected with gymnastics, prevailed. This emphasis was influenced by the fact that at that time at schools physical education was called gymnastics, but the teachers - teachers of gymnastics. On November 3, 1922 the study plan, realized at the Institute, was reviewed introducing the condition that at the end of studying students will take an exam in each of 21 study subjects. On November 15, 1922 doctor Dr. Jēkabs Dille was the Head of the Institute.

In 1923 Pedagogical Commission determined exam requirements and content, and approved the document received by graduates of those times. The first final exam requirements were similar to today's requirements and one of the major parts was - conducting lessons for school-age children and defending one’s chosen management activity. The first final exams were held from July 23 to July 27, 1923, and on August 8 of the same year LFII Council, acting in accordance with the Cabinet of Ministers Decision of September 6, 1921, decided to grant or not to grant the graduation Diploma, granting or not granting rights to work as a teacher. LFII ceased its activity in 1925, and during 5 years of its lifetime (1921-1925) 79 gymnastics (physical education) teachers were prepared and certified.

Considering the importance of physical education and need to have teachers of Physical Education at schools, on October 2, 1926 within Latvian Folk University was opened Institute of Physical Education (LTU FAI).

At the basis of the activity of LTU FAI the organization, general character of studies and requirements of former institute were used. The Institute worked according to plans and programs, affirmed by the Ministry of Education, the duration of studies was 3 years. Voldemārs Cekuls, inspector of Physical Education of the Ministry of Education was appointed to be the head of LTU FAI. During the time of its existence (1929-1940) LTU FAI prepared 189 specialists of Physical Education, from which 179 received the Diploma, confirming graduation from the Institute, but 10 – about having attended classes as listeners. LTU FAI ceased its work in 1940, and its head Voldemārs Cekuls was deported from Latvia on June 14, 1941. In time period from 1921 to 1940 the Institute was graduated by 267 teachers of Physical Education.


The Latvian State Institute of Physical Culture (LVFKI) started its activity on January 1, 1946 by LSSR People's Commissars Council decision. Practical studies in LVFKI started in January 1946 in Riga, 6 Aspazija (then Padomju) Boulevard, where there were no special rooms and premises had to be rented for studies. The situation improved slightly on October 21, 1946, when additional premises were allocated in 3 Kaļķu street. By contrast, in 1951 the Institute got premises in 10 Kalpaks (then Komunāru) Boulevard and 4 Vēstures Street. Infrastructure improvement took place in 1959, when LVFKI study and sports complex was built in 333 Brīvības (then Lenina) Street.

As an integral structural part of Sport University at all times has been the Sports Club (SKIF), which was founded on October 4, 1946 and throughout all years of its existence its employees were organizers of student and lecturer sporting activities. At all times our students have gained considerable success at the international level, taking part and representing Latvia and the University in the world and European competitions, as well as in different level student competitions.

In 1959 a 6-storey study building was constructed. The prestigious qualifications, obtained at the University, and the growth in the number of students, associated with it, was the reason for constructing another building for studies and sports in 1982, and in 1986 - Athletic Arena. In 1989 the students of the Institute gained extra lecture-rooms and offices. In 1994, the premises of scientific laboratory and a shooting range were opened alongside the stadium.

During its existence up to year 1992 LVFKI had prepared 5522 specialists with higher education and 151 - with special secondary education.

On November 5, 1991 the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Latvia with the order Nr.459 states that in the future to better reflect the higher education institution status and profile, its name will be the Latvian Academy of Sport Education (LASE). The first Constitution of the Academy was approved in Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia on March 10, 1992.

To perform tasks set forth for the Latvian Academy of Sport Education Pedagogical Faculty worked in the Academy, and during the period from 1983 to 1991 also the Faculty of Coaches.

The number of teaching staff has also increased quantitatively and qualitatively:

  • 38 members of academic staff, including 1 Professor, 16 Assistant Professors, 7 Senior Lecturers, 14 Lecturers and Assistants worked there in the academic year 1946/1947;
  • in the academic year 2019/2020 education work at the Academy was provided by 56 members of academic staff, including 17 Professors, 12 Associate Professors, 13 Assistant Professors, 6 Lecturers, 4 Assistants, 4 Leading Researchers and Researchers, including 37 members of academic staff having Scientific degree.
  • Latvian Institute of Physical Education (1921-1925);
  • Institute of Physical Education of Latvian Folk University (LTU FAI) (1925-1940);
  • Latvian State Institute of Physical Culture (1946-1992);
  • Latvian Academy of Sport Education (since March 10, 1992).

The Academy leaders and rectors are as follows:

  • Mārtiņš KRŪZE, teacher (1921-1922);
  • Jēkabs DILLE, Doctor (1922-1925);
  • Voldemārs CEKULS, Physical Education Officer, Ministry of Education (1925-1940);
  • Ivans LAZURKA, army officer (1945-1946);
  • Jevgeņijs SRETENSKIS, Army Colonel, university lecturer (1946-1951);
  • Nikolajs NEĻGA, physical education specialist, candidate of Pedagogy Science,Assistant Professor (1951-1958);
    Aleksis AILIS, sports specialist, Assistant Professor, Honored sport specialist (1958-1960);
  • Jurijs BERDIČEVSKIS, candidate of Pedagogy Science, Assistant Professor, Honored physical culture and sport specialist (1960, 1962);
  • Andrejs EĻVIHS, candidate of History Science, Assistant Professor (1960-1962);
  • Vladimirs MAKSIMOVS, candidate of Pedagogy Science, Assistant Professor, Honored physical culture and sports specialist (1962-1982);
  • Ilgvars FORANDS, candidate of Pedagogy Science, Professor, Honored Physical Education and Sports specialist (1982-1988);
  • Uldis GRĀVĪTIS, Doctor of Pedagogy, Professor (1988.-2008.);
  • Jānis ŽĪDENS, Doctor of Pedagogy, Professor (2009.-2019).
  • Juris GRANTS, Doctor of Pedagogy, Professor (since 2019).

Total number of the LASE graduates in 2021:

Professional Bachelors:
Senior Coach in Kind of Sport and Sport Teacher
Senior Coach in Kind of Sport and Sport Manager
Sport Teacher and Sport Manager
Senior Coach in Kind of Sport and Recreation Specialist
Sport Teacher and Recreation Specialist 
1st level coaches
Professional Masters:
- Sport Science
- Health Care Specialist in Sport
Graduates of Doctoral study programme
TOTAL  in 2021:
250 graduates

All Academy students and successful graduates received higher education and were trained to work in very different qualifications, relevant to time period, such as:

• Sports (Physical education) teachers;

• Biology teachers;

• Social sciences (health education) teachers;

• Anatomy and physiology teachers;

• Teachers of Military training;

• Sports coaches;

• Physical culture (Education) teachers;

• Education and Sport work managers;

• Active tourism managers;

• Physiotherapists;

• Masseurs.

LASE is the only higher education institution in Latvian, which coordinates and conducts research in sport, as well as educates sports science specialists. So far, scientific activity has mainly been carried out in the Departments of the Academy, but now several scientific research institutes with their own laboratories are formed, such as the Sports Science Institute, Recreation and Environment Institute, Teacher Education Development Institute, Institute of Movement Ergonomics.

As a tradition for many years is the annual faculty and student research conference, in the framework of which lecturer and student investigations are approbated. A logical result of these conferences is an annual edition of Sports Science - LASE scientific articles.
Sport for almost every LASE student has been an integral part of life. Students' active lifestyle determines both their quality of life and professional preparedness.

Further goal of the Latvian Academy of Sport Education is to provide an internationally recognized high-quality studies, develop innovative research in sport science and integrate it in the study process, which ensures the training of competent and competitive different sports specialists for Latvian and international job market.

Basic vision of LASE sustainable development in higher sport education is:


The staff of the Latvian Academy of Sport Education, recognizing the importance and necessity of their work, and taking as the foundation 90 years long traditions, will continue to provide opportunities for qualitative sport education in Latvia.



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