Previously, the government had twice deferred its decision on the teacher academy’s liquidation by merging it with the University of Latvia.
The ruling coalition explained the repeated delays by the necessity to receive additional information from the Education and Science Ministry, including in response to Ombudsman Juris Jansons’ criticism of flaws and uncertainties in the decision-making process.
The Latvian Trade Union of Educational and Science Employees and the teacher academy’s administration raised objections to the plan to close the academy, claiming that the decision would be illegal, rushed and reckless.
After debating the issue at length, the Latvian Student Association also decided not to back the Education and Science Ministry’s plan to merge the teacher academy with the University of Latvia.
The government debated the teacher academy’s closure plan for three hours today. Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards (National Alliance) described it as the longest debate in a decade. Representatives of all the parties concerned also took part in the Cabinet sitting.
Both the teacher academy’s administration and social partners slammed the Education and Science Ministry’s decision, arguing that it ignore a number of commitments and obligations.
Upon hearing arguments from all the parties concerned, as well as Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis’ (Unity) explanations, Gerhards remained the only Cabinet minister standing by his position that although the “legal and emotional” aspects of the plan had been discussed in detail, uncertainties still remained about the teacher academy’s branches and a possible interruption of the study process at the beginning of the coming academic year.
Under the decision taken today by the government, Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy will be liquidated in six months’ time, merging it with the University of Latvia.
The decision was accompanied by peaceful protests by the Cabinet of Ministers. No officials went out to talk with them however.
The Riga Teacher Training and Educational Management Academy was established in 1994. It has 3,514 students at the moment.
The Education and Science Ministry has to ensure that the students can choose to continue their studies at the following institutions of higher education: BA School of Business and Finance, Riga Business College, Riga Technical University (RTU), Liepaja University, Ventspils University College, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Rezekne Higher Education Institution or Daugavpils University. Tuition terms for these students will remain unchanged.