During their meeting with the Minister of Education Roberts Kilis on April 13, members of the Economist Association 2010 assessed the importance of his reform plan concerning the development of Latvian national economy and expressed their support for its realization.
«If Kilis’ proposed changes are slowed, then the reforms in the education could be delayed for a very long time and the best of our young people would look for opportunities to leave Latvia», – President of the association Ojars Kehris notes.
Mentioning the most important work to be done this year, Kilis underlined the assessment of the education program, which is to be finished in July, and will give a clear understanding of Latvian education programs’ competitiveness. The minister stressed that a full education system assessment was carried out twenty years ago, which is why now experts from Northern countries and Britain will assess the work done by Latvian science institutions using a special method, and will give their advices on proper science funding and management questions in November.
These and other decisions touch the interests of specific people and groups of people, which is why the minister predicts sharp attempts to slow the intended changes in the education and science system, Economist Association 2010 reports.
The discussion’s participants actively welcomed the minister to explain his intended higher education funding model, because the phrase often used in society – «charged education» – causes a counter-reaction to the necessary reforms.
According to Kilis’ idea, studies will not have to be paid using personal funds, instead, payments would be deducted from public sources. After finishing studies, the graduate would then have some opportunities to gradually pay back the public fund, which, in turn, would continue funding new students. This idea is supplemented by other options and benefits – even now a system, in which the state covers credits for motivated teachers, in functioning. Even high schools would need to fight for an opportunity to attract more capable students, by offering study bursaries to the best students.
Speaking about plans for the future, Roberts Kilis stressed the necessity to change the model of financing higher education institutions, as well as develop a lifelong education system – professional education centers, which would service not only students, but also residents of all age groups, so that they can further develop their skills throughout their lives.