When signing the memorandum of cooperation on the establishment of the university consortium, which took place today in Jelgava, Laizāns acknowledged that the aim of the consortium is to coordinate programs, joint scientific development and ensure quality.
“Our goal is to create a science that is largely based in Latvia with a view across borders, because all three universities are in some way related to the bioeconomy, what are Latvia’s traditional industries – wood, forest, air, land, plus human resources that are the good things in Latvia, “said the Vice – Rector for Studies at the Latvia University of Agriculture.
He admitted that higher education institutions are reserved about the need to reduce the number of study programs expressed by the Ministry of Education and Science (MES), because as a result of each program there is an employee working in the labor market. “At the same time, we will look through the study program, the implementation of study programs, location, quality, faculty,” said Laizāns.
According to him, the view of students from all three universities after the formation of the consortium will be much broader, more serious and more rosy, because it is a serious association supported by municipalities and two ministries – the Ministry of Agriculture (MFA) and the MES.
According to the memorandum signed today, a steering group and a supervisory board will be set up by 31 July at the latest to set up and operate the consortium. In turn, by February 26, 2021, the consortium council will have to develop a unified development strategy, brand, restructuring plan for the consortium study programs, as well as perform other tasks.
The Ministry of Education and Science emphasizes that the establishment of a consortium is the first step in the implementation of higher education reform by establishing unified governance, including a single council, a unified development strategy for studies and research, consolidating resources and respecting the advantages of each university. It is also planned to combine and invest resources in the development of doctoral studies and human resources.
“It is a real satisfaction that the idea of consolidation comes from Liepaja City Council, which has taken the initiative to encourage change in three universities. Joint management, while maintaining many elements of autonomy, is now a common practice in the world , universities will be able to improve the strongest fields of study, respond more flexibly to the necessary changes in both the study and research process, “emphasized the Minister of Education and Science Ilga Šuplinska (JKP).
She also expressed hope for the support of the Ministry of Agriculture not only in arranging the documents, but in all matters related to the provision of financial support for science and education.
Emphasizing the benefits of collaboration, university leaders acknowledged the importance of preserving the specificity, traditions and academic capacity of each university in pursuit of excellence in science, study and innovation, without losing the uniqueness and traditions of each university.
“We are all united by one idea – Latvia must develop as a polycentric state. The state does not end with Riga, and it is our cities that are probably most aware of it,” said Liepace Rector Dace Markus before signing the memorandum.
The Memorandum of Cooperation stipulates that the ministries responsible for the successful establishment and operation of the consortium shall ensure the development of the regulatory framework, as well as provide other types of consultative support. Municipalities also certify the provision of support in the establishment of a consortium.
The memorandum was signed by three universities, MES, MoA, as well as Liepāja, Jelgava and Daugavpils city councils.
It has already been reported that the aim of the consortium is to strengthen and promote higher education in regional universities by creating an environment that meets the needs of society and the labor market.
The Ministry of Education and Science emphasized that the consortium will include the development of the latest technology base and the strengthening of the qualifications of the academic staff, in addition to creating a new generation of interdisciplinary academic staff.
“It is expected that the consolidation of the strength of regional universities will create new cooperation networks, promote the retention and inflow of intellectual labor to Latvia, and ensure the balanced development of Latvia,” revealed the Ministry of Education and Science.