On the 28th of February and 1st of March 2022, the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) in cooperation with the Academic Information Centre (AIC) organized webinars for colleges, universities and partners, within the framework of the project “Road Map for Implementation of Institutional Assessment” of the ERASMUS + K3 programme “Support for policy reforms” (hereinafter - the project), on the introduction and implementation of cyclical institutional accreditation of higher education institutions.

On February 28, Anca Prisacariu, a senior quality assurance expert with extensive experience in quality assessment of European higher education institutions from Romania, Anne Rooste, a leading academic expert at TTK Tallinn University of Applied Sciences, shared their experience at the seminar for colleges and social partners.

In her presentation, A.Prisacariu introduced the webinar participants to the models and approaches to institutional accreditation, international practices – criteria and indicators, key principles in institutional accreditation and main features of internal quality management systems.

A. Roste presented the experience of TTK Tallinn University of Applied Sciences (Tallinna Tehnikakõrgkool) in the process of institutional accreditation, which was recently successfully accredited for seven years.

On March 1, the webinar was attended  by Diane Freiberger, managing director of the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA) (Germany), Viktoria Tischanski, Division Manager for International Accreditation/Bereichsleiterin International, FIBAA, and Mario Prast, Head of Quality, Paracelsus Medical University (Austria), German Quality Assessment Agency and the Head of the Quality Management Working Group of the Austrian Conference of Private Universities (OePUK).

After the presentations of the experts were concluded, the participants had the opportunity to ask questions and get them answered. The participants of the seminars were interested in the first steps of deciding which institutional accreditation model would be appropriate for their own country's scenarios, the verification of compliance with regulatory enactments, the costs and duration of institutional accreditation, evaluation of scientific activities in this context, preparation time for institutional accreditation, added value of institutional accreditation, institutional accreditation for higher education institutions specializing in medicine and other similar issues.

As a continuation of these seminars, this year March 17th and 18th, interactive workshops are planned to be happening remotely, in which the MES and AIC will present the concept of institutional cyclical accreditation of higher education institutions in Latvia, developed on the basis of experience and recommendations of multiple foreign experts.

The introduction of institutional accreditation is envisaged by the Cabinet of Ministers Order No. 210 “On the Government Action Plan for the Implementation of the Declaration on the Intended Activities of the Cabinet of Ministers Led by Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš” measure “Prepare for the introduction of cyclical institutional accreditation of higher education institutions starting from 2024”. The goal of the project, within whose scope these seminars are organized, is aimed at the implementation of this measure, envisaging the preparation and submission to the Cabinet of Ministers by the end of 2022 of proposals for the introduction of cyclical institutional accreditation of higher education institutions and proposals for regulatory framework. Thus, cyclical accreditation of higher education institutions would become the main quality assurance procedure, thus reducing the current overlap between the various existing quality assurance procedures, reducing the administrative burden and the costs of evaluation procedures.