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The key tasks of higher education are to provide a study process of high quality to prepare professionals according to the market requirements and to create new knowledge and transfer it to the national economy to foster the development of society. Higher education institutions can fulfill these requirements only in cooperation with various other institutions. Nowadays, the further development of this cooperation requires viewing it in a broader sense "“ in the aspect of the partnership. The paper mainly examines social partnerships between local governments and higher educational institutions to contribute to tackling common problems and reconciling interests, which is a significant precondition for regional development. In Latvia, social partnership is at the early stage of development. The overall aim of the paper is to examine theoretical findings and, based on them, to identify the views and recommendations of local governments regarding balancing the performance of regional higher education institutions (HEI) and the needs of society. The first part of the paper reviews the theoretical aspects of social partnership and analyses the possibilities to use social partnerships in regions. The second part focuses on the present situation in the regions and describes best practices of social partnership and the development trends in social partnership in Latvia's regions.
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