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Arts academies plan to issue "no-confidence" statement against Kilis

Janis Silins, the rector of the Latvian Academy of Culture/LETA.
RIGA, Nov 13 - Tomorrow, Latvian academies and colleges of the arts will consider expressing "no confidence" in Education and Science Minister Roberts Kilis, LETA learned from Latvian Academy of Culture.
The academy's rector Janis Silins told LETA that the decision was taken because, in the opinion of these academies and colleges, key matters in higher education are being dealt with in an amateurish manner.
"All of these statements about ratings and languages, which are totally inadequate, about property changes, about primary education - they are being issued one after another and give the impression of activity, but actually no problem is reviewed and analyzed consistently, and no thoroughly-researched reasoning offered," says Silins.
Previously, three Latvian Academy of Culture study programs were not included in the Education and Science Ministry's alternative assessment of higher education curricula - although they were evaluated by the Higher Education Council. Silins believes this clearly shows that the ministry's quality is below par - it did not even notice that the three programs were missing on its list.
The matter will be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the Latvian Academy of Culture's Senate, which will also be attended by representatives from the Latvian Academy of Art, Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music and Latvian Culture College.
Silins revealed that that the "no confidence" issue would also be the number one item on the agenda for a meeting of Latvian Rectors' Council on Thursday, November 15.
Latvian Academy of Art also believes that the alternative evaluation of higher education curricula by the Education and Science Ministry is an "attack" on the academy, and the academy is dissatisfied with the ministry's evaluation results.
As reported, the Education and Science Ministry proposes to discontinuing state funding for 19.4 percent or 162 higher education study programs that are of poor quality.
The ministry's evaluation follows the evaluation of higher education curricula by the Higher Education Council, and is more critical.
The key difference is in the evaluation of art academies and colleges, where only three study programs have been recognized as sustainable and adequate quality - down from sixteen in the Higher Education Council's evaluation.
Education and Science Minister Roberts Kilis pointed out that demands for his resignation will not solve quality issues in higher education.
Kilis is not sure what the reason is for such demands, but allows the possibility that it could be the recently-released assessment of higher education study programs.
The minister finds it suspicious that those higher education schools planning to express "no confidence" in him are under the Culture Ministry's supervision, not under the Education and Science Ministry. He points out that state-funded placements in higher education schools are planned by the Culture Ministry and it does not have to take into account the Ministry's assessment.
Kilis believes that the expression of no confidence in him by the Latvian Rectors' Council may not be unanimous. "We have higher education institutions with very good results. I am not that sure that this is a done thing," explains the minister, adding that serious arguments will be needed.
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