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Friday 20.07.2018 | Name days: Ramona, Ritma

Minister: Education Ministry will not fund low-quality education programs

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Roberts Kilis

189 or 22% of all higher education programs have been deemed low-quality by the Education and Science Ministry (ESM). These programs have notable flaws and students that follow these programs do not receive what they hope to learn, Education and Science Minister Roberts Kilis says.

The Higher Education Council, on the other hand, identified only 55 such programs. The main differences in results lie with stricter criteria, Kilis said in an interview to Latvian Radio.

Kilis called the students of these low-quality programs to turn to the management of those high schools with requests of clear action to improve the education programs.

The minister noted the ESM will not be closing down low-quality programs “from the top”. He said this decision is one for the high schools to make – close down the education programs or improve them. Kilis plans to offer the government to completely turn down the allocation of any funds to such education programs, instead using the funds for better programs. The minister will have a newly-developed funding division program within one and a half month.

Kilis noted that 389 or 46% of high school education programs have been recognized as very good. Other programs are considered to have some flaws that should be addressed.

As it is well known, the ESM performed an education program assessment, using the results gained by experts of the Higher Education Council’s realized European Social fund project – “Higher education program evaluation and proposals for improvements.” As a result, the ministry has developed an alternative education program categorization based on the quality of education programs and their longevity.

The alternative education program categorization provides for setting three groups of programs the longevity of which is not questionable, programs that can be improved, and programs the longevity of which is questionable.

In accordance with the experts’ quantitative data and the ministry’s used methodology, Group A (education programs that are of high quality) includes 389 education programs – 46% of the total number of active high school education programs. Group B (programs that have flaws and require improvements) includes 264 education programs – 32% of the total number of high school education programs. Group C (longevity of which is in question) includes 183 programs – 22% of the total number. Compared with the Higher Education Council’s division of education programs, the evaluation of education programs was improved in 43 cases and remained unchanged in 459 cases. Evaluation was reduced for 334 programs.

Results of the analysis state the Higher Education Council’s division of education programs has a very weak link with experts’ conclusions. Quantitative data offers some insights, but it remains only part of the full analysis of the situation. Therefore, the minister took the initiative to develop a mechanism to use the data from both models, so that the information can be used in decision making in relation to future budget funding allocation for education programs.

After the minister’s request on September 14, 2012, the Higher Education Council received the Excel file containing experts’ quantitative evaluation of all 852 education programs. 842 programs were included for further analysis. As it turned out, the information regarding ten programs was submitted twice. At the same time, it is important to note the restriction of available data: only 17% of all evaluated education programs have been evaluated in relation to all 62 criteria. With that, the minister’s carried out evaluation only covered 836 education programs.

The ministry’s proposed education program evaluation analysis can be used as one of the criteria for the determination of which education programs are eligible to receive state funding. The evaluation information will be used as analytical material for education program accreditation for members of the commission. Nonetheless, the accreditation process will still feature the data gained as a result of the ESF project – both qualitative and quantitative.


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