Rector row rumbles towards resolution

Take note – story published 7 years ago

The row over the re-appointment of a rector at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE) rumbled on over the weekend with government ministers saying the dispute should soon be resolved.

As previously reported by LSM, an outcry was raised after long-serving SSE rector, Swedish Anders Paalzow, was blocked from taking up a new term because of his lack of Latvian language skills.

Confusion reigned for several days with SSE and the Education Ministry suffering an apparent communication breakdown over the matter.

Then on January 28 Education Minister Karlis Sadurskis appeared to offer an olive branch by expressing his admiration for Paalzow, saying the Education Ministry supported his candidature in principle, and agreeing with his assertion that "the controversy has been stirred up by politically-motivated interests," without specifying who those interests were or what they hoped to gain from the chaos.

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The information was posted on is personal Facebook page, but at the time of writing on January 30, nothing has appeared on the Education Ministry's official website.

The allegation of political motives behind the controversy broke into the open in a strongly-worded statement by Paalzow.

A day earlier on January 27, Sadurskis' fellow Vienotiba party member and ministerial colleague, Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens said a modern economy "requires rules that allow international competition in the academic spheres and higher education exports".

Aseradens told LTV he was ready to propose removing Latvian language requirements for the holders of rectorships -- notwithstanding the fact that the existing requirements have not been enforced until now. Paalzow has held the rectorship of SSE since 1999.

On January 26 Sadurskis made it very clear to LTV that he believed the rules should be enforced and that Paalzow needed to prove his command of Latvian in order to continue in his post. 

"I think that Mr Paalzow needs only to formalize his languge ability with a legal document because it is very difficult not to have learned the language after working in Latvia for such a long time," Sadurskis told LTV.

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