During the period of February to April 2018 the postdoctoral research "Modernization of school education in Latvia through an innovative research-based program on 21st century competences and virtue ethics development supported by a virtual campus (ARETE-school)", implemented by Dr. Manuel Fernandez Gonzalez in collaboration with DataPro Group SIA and Rezekne Academy of Technologies under the scientific supervision of prof. Iveta Ķestere, has advanced at a good pace.

The results of the postdoctoral research had been presented and discussed in several national and international conferences, such as the 76th international conference of the University of Latvia (4 presentations, 3 of them in Riga and one in Alūksne), and the international conference "Competences in Music", organized by the European Association for Music at School in Jelgava (Latvia), where Dr. Fernandez pronounced the key note "Developing pupils transversal competencies and virtuous character in the music classroom: a neo-Aristotelian approach".

During this period, 2 new publications were submitted to international indexed journals: "Pedagogical leaders’ personality relevance for vocational education quality" for the Special Issue of the journal "Quality Assurance in Education", and "Aristotelian virtue identity: commitment to grow in virtue as a central part of the sense of self" for the journal "Estudios sobre educación". An extensive interview with the postdoctoral researcher was also published in March in the "Katoļu baznīcas vēstnesis", and some other scientific publications are under preparation.

The postdoctoral student received also guidance from colleagues of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues of the University of Birmingham in the frame of the online Master "Character and virtue education". He attended the residential of 4 days (March 21–25) at their campus. "The best, as always, was the people: engaging, interesting…", said Dr. Manuel Fernandez Gonzalez. "We had a lot of time for exchanges, lectures were good, and 2nd year students shared about their projects. I had time to work at the library, to visit the Jubilee Centre itself, and I got hard copies of many of their publications for dissemination in Latvia. For me it was also great for getting new research experience! In 36 hours I was interviewed once, I participated in a 2-hour long focus group discussion, I filled 4 different questionnaires… and I got installed on my PC the last version of NVIVO software for free at the library as UB student!" The next steps of the research are the completion of the ongoing data collection about the understanding of character and virtue education in Latvia among representatives of education system at different levels (pupils, school teachers and leaders, student teachers, teacher trainers, families, etc.), and the discussion of the findings with experts. An evaluation research of the implementation quality of an innovative programme of character education at the Riga Catholic Gymnasium is also foreseen.

This postdoctoral research is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, project No.: (SAM activity project number