RIGA - The regional branches of the Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy should be preserved also after the reorganization, said Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers) in an interview with the Latvian public television on Tuesday.
Kucinskis that the reform should improve the quality, but access to studies in regions should be preserved.
As there are still many unclear issues in relation to the planned merger of the academy with the University of Latvia, Education, and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis has to present all arguments at the coalition meeting on January 16, the prime minister explained.
As reported, the Education and Science Ministry has decided to reorganize the Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy by merging it with the University of Latvia by the end of August. This is necessary to concentrate resources and ensure more effective utilization of budget funds, said the ministry.
Consolidation of higher education institutions is taking place in many countries in Europe at the moment. The goal is to make more efficient use of limited resources, improve the quality of studies and research, and increase higher education institutions' competitiveness. At the moment, teacher training is fragmented in Latvia, furthermore, the comparatively large number of teachers graduate each year (more than a thousand), while only a small part of them go on to work as teachers - 200 to 400 annually.
Therefore, the Education and Science Ministry believes, teacher training should be concentrated at such universities and colleges that can provide quality infrastructure and research opportunities and academic personnel.
The consolidation will cause no financial losses for the academy's students, and their rights to education will not be infringed upon as they will be able to continue their studies at other universities and colleges without having to pay anything on top of what they currently pay for their studies. They will be offered to continue their education at the University of Latvia, Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, BA School of Business and Finance, Riga Technical University, or some of the regional universities and colleges.
Representatives of the Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy refused to attend the planned meeting with the Education and Science Ministry’s specialists on Monday to discuss the reorganization of the academy. The academy’s rector Daina Voita said in a press conference that, under the current legislation, a decision on the reorganization of a higher educational establishment is made by the Cabinet of Ministers. The rector believes that this has not been done.
The Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy was established in 1994. It has 3,514 students at the moment.