FICIL highly appreciates the work of State President, Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Education and Science, as well as Saeima Education, Culture and Science Committee on improving the overall quality of higher education. FICIL supports the change proposed by the Ministry of Education and Science in the governance model of higher education institutions.
This is a significant moment, when all higher education sector stakeholders finally have to make a decision on change. FICIL calls for swift actions, to ensure mid-term and long-term results, because several advancements should happen. There is a need for increased financing; however, the first step is a transition to a new governance model for higher education institutions (HEI), with a clear separation of decision-making and executive roles. In order to become a high value-added economy, HEIs need to be able to adapt to rising standards by improving the quality and competitiveness of education in order to achieve excellence. The excessive number of higher education institutions, the lack of funding, the fragmentation among academic staff and resources, as well as the low rating of universities in Latvia in international rankings are in no way consistent with our ambition to see Latvia as a centre of innovation and development. We encourage the Government to implement an HEI governance model that has proven its effectiveness in practically all European countries and worldwide. It provides for external stakeholder (i.e. entrepreneurs, alumni representatives, foreign experts) involvement in strategic decision-making at HEIs, and a clear separation of decision-making and executive functions in order to ensure accountability for the objectives set.
It is time for action.