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Arts academies and colleges demand Kilis' resignation

Education and Science Minister Robert Kilis/LETA.
 RIGA, Nov 14 - Latvian fine arts and performing arts academies and colleges today issued a statement of no confidence against Education and Science Minister Robert Kilis, demanding he step down for being unable to ensure a well-thought out and high quality reform process.

Representatives participating in the meeting adopted the statement almost unanimously, with just one abstention and one vote against.

The academies and colleges would like to see a person competent in higher education as minister, who would also be able to properly manage the reform process.

As reported, representatives from the Latvian Academy of Art, Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music and Latvian Culture College participated in the open meeting of the Latvian Academy of Culture's Senate today. The academy's rector Janis Silins told LETA that the decision was taken because, in the opinion of these schools, 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," said 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.

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 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 arts academies and colleges, where only three study programs have been recognized as sustainable and adequate quality - much less than the sixteen in the Higher Education Council's evaluation.
Education Minister Roberts Kilis, reacting to the call for his ouster from fine and performing arts academies, said that he is miffed as to what the goal could be, and that the move is actually an "emotional misunderstanding."

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