Research company Kantar has observed a slight improvement in how local higher education is viewed among Latvian youth since it started conducting the study in 2017. This is significant as many young people in Latvia strongly consider studying abroad. Seeing as last year Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) experienced an 11% increase in both local and international students, this does not seriously affect RSU – the same study also found that RSU is ranked highest among Latvian universities for a third consecutive year.
This spring Kantar evaluated both the overall reputation of the Latvian higher education system and the reputation of nine individual universities. A reference group aged 15-60 years, and a target group aged 15-26 years, were asked to assess the reputation of these institutions. After a significant rise in the reputation index in the previous year (from 69 to 73 points), this year RSU managed to retain its position as reputation leader with 74 index points.
‘Our image of being a strong university is the result of our powerful team's long-term work. We are very happy that the aspects that we've been focusing on for many years as part of our strategic goals – high-quality education, an international environment, knowledge that is useful in the labour market – are the same that the participants of the study noted and appreciated,’ comments RSU Rector Professor Aigars Pētersons. He emphasised that the university is especially satisfied with the recognition given by young people. This year the 15-26 year age group assessed RSU’s reputation at 81 points, which is three points more than the previous year. The average score given by this target group in the same section was 61 points.
A Latvian academic reputation survey was conducted from March to April 2019 in the form of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI), by surveying 1 018 people from Latvia aged 15–60 years (this is a representative sample for the general population in the given age group).