Prime minister calls for task force on higher education, science reforms

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has asked his minister of economics to form a task force on reforming Latvia’s system of higher education and making it more competitive on the world stage.

The prime minister on Sept. 7 forwarded a resolution to Economics Minister Artis Kampars and to Education and Science Minister Tatjana Koķe that also asks them to provide Dombrovskis with an update on what reforms are already underway.

The call for a task force comes just five days after former presidents Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga and Guntis Ulmanis, along with several educators and researchers, sent Dombrovskis an open letter urging renewed attention to higher education in Latvia. They said the government should not just concentrate on cutting costs in the face of the country’s budget crisis, but has to plan for economic growth and inhabitants’ well-being.

“The further development of Latvia,” they wrote in the letter, “is dependent on such structural changes to higher education and science that would ensure emphasis on achieving results in accordance with Latvia’s strategic needs; a qualitative leap in the international competitiveness of Latvia’s education and science sector; concentration of education, finance and infrastructure resources; and a maximum return from available budget means.”

The government should support the suggestions in the letter and must move quickly to start the process, Dombrovskis said, according to the Cabinet of Ministers press secretary.

Kampars is to lead the task force and Koķe will assist him.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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