bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 23.07.2018 | Name days: Magda, Magone, Mērija
LatviaLatvia

Foreign experts shocked about education program survey in Latvia

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

The scandal surrounding the evaluation of higher education is becoming more popular – talks about data fabrication grow into new suspicions. Talks have now reached the Higher Education Council (HEC), which previously heavily criticized the Education and Science Minister Roberts Kilis.

The higher education evaluation was awaited with grand expectations – to finally determine which university education programs offer the best education experience in Latvia. In order to determine this, 237 local and foreign experts were called in. The European Social Fund provided one million LVL for this initiative. A unique research project was planned – to evaluate Latvia’s university education programs in accordance with European methods and standards, Nekā Personīga (Nothing Personal) programme of TV3 reports.

59 universities and colleges and a total of 857 education programs participated in the project. Universities were happy to participate also because this would give them a cheaper education program accreditation process. However, the results were not nearly as expected. It was discovered that the foreign education program evaluation principles differ from Latvian practice. Teachers of Latvian universities who have worked abroad as foreign experts admit that local experts elsewhere are only used as advisors or informants – they do not participate in decision making. Also there were a number of conflicts of interests.

One of the recognized foreign experts – British representative Jillian Hillard – who led the experts’ commission, admits that Latvia’s experience definitely does not comply with the internationally accepted practice. When asked whether this was a European Union level research, the expert said: “Honestly – I was shocked. It was very poorly prepared. If there ever was an intention to review all state programs in such an area as education, which requires careful preparation and preliminary research in order to review every case – there was none. We’ve had a lack of knowledge, information, even with actual names of education programs, which seemed to change every time we received documents. This is why I believe and I was told, we were doing a pilot survey.”

Latvian expert Laura Valtere told the programme: “There is an issue that the data we submitted to the ministry, most of which we compiled ourselves, were made up by us.But we are not sure that the ministry’s submitted data is the real data we reported.” When asked what makes her think that way, Valtere said that the data that was submitted to the ministry lacked the experts’ signatures.

HEC told the programme that there were mistakes. “Some part of the experts wrote reports that they made mistakes in certain education program evaluations and that they definitely should be higher. HEC as a managing committee had reviewed all materials and made the decision that HEC did not alter any names or lines in documents signed by experts. We have a reports signed by experts, an application from universities and a number of separate reports from experts, stating that there actually have been errors. All this was submitted to the Accreditation Commission, which will use it in making decisions regarding accreditation,” – explains HEC Chairman Janis Vetra.

Some evaluation criteria were not formulated clear enough. This is why results based on those criteria were not only different in some cases, but also outright absurd. For example, it would have been logical for the criteria governing whether an education program is able to secure students or personnel of a university a room in a hotel or some other service to coincide all across the University of Latvia. But it did not. Some LU programs received 4 points, others – 2.

The problems are also noted by the fact that some experts downright refused to put digit assessments. However, when those experts left, numbers actually appeared in documents.

According to the organizer of the project – Higher Education Council – there are no other problems. One look at the stacks of papers with assessment marks explains why errors in evaluation were made. Nonetheless, the overall result is positive, believe the representatives of the organization.

Everyone agrees that a project of this scale should not have been carried out in a hurry – experts only had a week (otherwise Latvia could have lost European money). There was also the need to finish before September – when education program accreditation begins. It is also noted that the amount of allocated funding turned out to be smaller than expected.

Universities hope that this work will not be forgotten, because opinions of foreign experts have weight after all.

Ref: 102.109.109.4928


Leave a reply

Ryanair earns 20% less in April-June and readies for strikes

The Irish airline Ryanair has registered a 20% fall in profits as it has had higher wage costs as the airline as a result of continuing industrial action by staff over remuneration and conditions.

Swedbank: Riga is behind neighbouring capital cities with real estate deals

With residents’ purchasing power and savings on a rise, more and more residents consider housing acquisition options, according to Swedbank data.

Lithuania's Šiauliai has plans for a joint discount and service system with Latvia's Jelgava

Šiauliai municipality plans to adopt a joint discount and service system with Jelgava.

Criminal prosecution requested for two police officers for cheating at gambling

Internal Security Bureau has requested the prosecutor’s office to commence criminal prosecution of several people, including two police officers, for using illegal computer software to cheat at slot machines.

Fire in Valdgale held at bay within perimeter; Crisis Management Council calls emergency meeting

Last night, firefighters in Latvia managed to hold at bay the fire that had run through Valdgale County last week within the safety perimeter, says State Fire and Rescue Service press-representative Inta Palkavniece.

Nearly 10% of HIV infected in Latvia are youngsters

Latvia is currently the leader among newly uncovered HIV cases in Europe. On top of that, nearly 10% of all HIV infected are youngsters, says public health specialist Baltic HIV Association member Anda Ķīvīte.

In pictures: Large wildfires in Sweden continue

In Sweden, record summer temperatures and weeks without rain have caused series of wildfires across the vast country.

Lursoft: catering sector in Latvia – how much industry leaders earn and pay in taxes

Using a study and compiling data on companies’ business activities for the past three years, Lursoft wanted to find out if it is true catering companies in Latvia work with losses, and what their tax contribution is.

Shooting attack in Canada claims lives

A shooting attack has taken place in Toronto, Canada, with two people having been killed died and 13 others injured.

Farmers in Estonia active in Open Farm Day

Estonian farmers have held their fourth Open Farm Day as over 250 farms in the Baltic country invited everyone interested to experience growing and making of domestic food and agricultural products.

Police commence investigation of an offshore network owned by Lembergs’ daughter

Latvian State Police has commenced an investigation following journalists’ publication of materials about an offshore network owned by suspended Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs’ daughter.

Polish Sejm rushes to change defiant chief Judge of Supreme Court

Poland's legislators have passed rules to hasten the changing of a new Supreme Court chief as part of far-reaching judicial reform that has been criticised by the European Commission among others.

Heat wave to continue in Latvia along with thunderstorms and heavy rain at times

The heat wave active in Latvia will not back off this week – days will remain hot and night-time air temperature will not drop below +20° C. Heavy rain and thunder will be observed nearly every day this week, according to Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Bulgarian parliament opposes readmission of migrants from EU countries

Bulgarian parliament prohibited the its government from signing bilateral agreements with other European Union member states on readmitting migrants first entered the bloc in Bulgaria.

Week in Lithuania. Liberals ex-leader fails to recover confiscated cash

Eligijus Masiulis, a former Liberal Movement leader on trial in a major political corruption case, has failed to recover cash that was found and seized during searches of his home.

BNN summary of the week: open presidential election in Latvia and no more plastic bags for shoppers

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Future; Change; Fight; Decline; Business; Progress.

SRS: cash register reform still stagnates, but has become much faster than it was last year

The cash registers reform continues stagnating. However, it has become much faster than it was a year ago, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Specialists to search for solutions to topical environmental problems in Ventspils

On Friday, 20 July, a meeting was held between Ventspils Commercial Port representatives and specialists from State Environment Service.

Children with functional disorders to receive services financed by EU funds

Child invalids will have access to social services intended to improve their social skills and mobility. More than EUR 4.2 million has been allocated for this goal from the European Social Fund, as confirmed by Latvia’s Central Financing and Contracting Agency.

Producer price level in industry up 4.3% in Latvia

Compared to June 2017, the average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 4.3 % in June 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 4.8 % and those of exported products by 3.7 %.

Total tax debts in Latvia in July – 1.212 billion euros

At the beginning of July total tax debts in Latvia, including outstanding debts, halted debts and debts applied with repayment term extensions, accounted for EUR 1.212 billion, which is 0.8% less than a month prior, according to data from the State Revenue Service.

Survey: every third Latvian resident has received illegal loan offers

Nearly every third resident in Latvia or 31% of respondents admit having received offers to use illegal loan services, as concluded in a survey performed by Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association and SKDS.

Libya opposed to EU's idea to establish migrant centres in North Africa

Libya is against the solution of the European Union to set up migrant centres in the North African country as a means to keep migrants from arriving in the bloc and Libya would not be convinced with financial support, its Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has noted.

Arrest warrant on Catalan ex-President cancelled by Spain

The Supreme Court of Spain cancelled a European arrest warrant for former Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, as Germany refused to extradite him to face accusations of rebellion for declaring the independence of Spain's region, Catalonia in 2017.

Latvian government plans to allow handing expired food to charity

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has prepared amendments to the Law on the Supervision of the Handling of Food that provide permission to hand over certain types of food products to charity after the end of their expiry date.