Studiju virzienu reģistrs

Accreditation of Study Directions

Accreditation of Study Directions

Preparation of Application and Self-assessment Report

 

The higher education institution/college (hereinafter – HEI) shall, at least six months before the deadline of the accreditation term, submit to the Agency the application for accreditation of a study direction signed by the rector of the higher education institution or the director of the college in compliance with Cabinet Regulations No. 407, and attaching to the application for the accreditation of a study direction the Self-Assessment Report of the study direction prepared in compliance with the Guidelines for the Preparation of a Self-Assessment Report of Study Directions designed by the Agency, in line with the requirements for the accreditation of a study direction set out in the Law on Institutions of Higher Education, other regulatory enactments as well as the Methodology for Assessing Study Directions. The confirmation that the fee for the accreditation of a study direction has been transferred into the bank account of the Academic Information Centre shall be attached to the application for the accreditation of a study direction.

 

The higher education institution/college shall submit to the Agency the application for accreditation and the Self-Assessment Report in paper format and attaching the identical electronic version thereof on a data carrier, or in an electronic format. The pages of the document submitted in paper format shall be numbered, and the whole document shall be stitched in such a way that the sheets cannot be separated. The application for accreditation submitted in electronic format shall be signed with a secure electronic signature in compliance with the provisions set out in the Electronic Documents Law. The documents shall be prepared and submitted in the official language and translated into English (translations of the documents by other organisations may be marked as ‘provisional translation’). In case of any disputes, the documents submitted in the official language shall prevail.

 

The following information should be provided by HEIs in the accreditation application:

  • the name of HEI;
  • the name of a study direction;
  • names and codes of study programmes in the relevant study direction in compliance with the Latvian classification of education;
  • the duration and amount of study programmes to be implemented in the relevant study direction;
  • the address of a HEI or college and/or its campuses, in which the study programmes in the relevant study direction are being implemented (address of a HEI, its campus/branch, or a college and its campus/branch), as well as language, type and form of studies, including distance learning;
  • admission requirements in the study programmes in the relevant study direction;
  • degrees, professional qualifications or degrees and professional qualifications that can be obtained in study programmes in the relevant study direction;
  • name and surname, position, academic/science degree, e-mail address, and phone number of the person authorised by the higher education institution/college who shall deal with issues related to the accreditation of the study direction.

 

The self-assessment procedure of a HEI or college should be carried out in compliance with the internal quality assurance system. A HEI or college should take a responsibility to carry out an appropriate self-assessment and prepare it within a definite term. The structure and content of the Self-assessment Report should comply with the provisions referred to in the The guidelines for the preperation of a Self-Assessment Report of Study Directions.

 

The Agency shall request and receive from the relevant state registers information about the higher education institution/college included therein, necessary for the accreditation of the study direction. The Agency shall request the State Education Quality Service, within 10 working days, to provide information regarding any violations by the higher education institution/college detected within the study direction to be assessed and in the implementation of the study programmes in the relevant study direction, as well as the activities performed by the higher education institution/college to eliminate such violations, and the received claims related to the implementation of the respective study direction and the study programmes in the relevant study direction, as well as shall request the certification institution (if the relevant profession can be certified by the relevant certification institution) or the Ministry of Defence (if the study programme is implemented in the field of military defence) to submit the assessment of the study programmes in the relevant study direction within 10 working days since the request has been received.

 

Every year, following the accreditation, the institution of higher education or the college shall prepare a report on the actions taken to improve the study direction, and it shall be approved by the Senate of the institution of higher education or the Council of the college by 15 January of the following year. The institution of higher education or the college shall submit the report on actions taken to improve the study direction to the Ministry of Education and Science or to the Centre, upon its request, and also shall publish it on the webpage of the institution of higher education or the college.

 

The Agency should check the accreditation application and the documents attached to it and, if necessary, should request in writing the missing information. A HEI or college should submit the mentioned information to the Agency within 30 days after their request.

 

N.B. The accreditation application should be returned to the applicant in the following cases:

  • the accreditation fee for a study direction has not been paid in compliance with Cabinet Regulations No. 409;
  • all information, which has been requested pursuant to Paragraph 39 and Paragraph 42 of the Cabinet Regulations No. 407 of 14 July 2015 has not been submitted;
  • documents have not been prepared in conformity with the requirements for drawing up documents as defined in regulatory enactments.

 The Agency initiates the assessment procedure when the accreditation fee has been made, all requested information from the Agency has been submitted and the submitted documents have been prepared in conformity with the requirements for drawing up documents as defined in regulatory enactments.

 

Organization of On-site Visit for Experts

 

The aim of the on-site visit shall be to obtain as much information on the study direction and the relevant study programmes as possible, in order to perform a comprehensive and unbiased assessment in compliance with the assessment criteria specified in Annex 9 to Cabinet Regulations No. 407 and aspects listed under each assessment criteria specified in The guidelines for the preperation of the joint report of the group of experts for study directions, which should be considered in the evaluation of these criteria.

 

Organization of on-site visit:

  • The Agency shall, within three working days after the approval of the experts group, inform the higher education institution/college about the composition of the experts group and the Agency’s employee who shall coordinate the assessment process. The higher education institution/college may, within three working days, express rejection towards any member of the experts group, by submitting to the Centre a written justified application, which explains reasons for each rejected member of the experts group. The Centre shall, within two weeks, review the application submitted by the higher education institution/college and if the Centre recognises such application as justified, the Agency shall establish another experts group and inform the higher education institution/college thereof.
  • The HEI or college covers the actual cost-saving travel expenses not exceeding EUR 711,44 and costs of the hotel not exceeding EUR 106,72 per night. If the actual travel costs of an expert exceed EUR 711,44 or hotel costs exceeds EUR 106,72 per night, the Agency should approve the costs with the HEI or college. Procedures of mutual financial provisions should be defined by the AIC.
  • The assessment coordinator shall prepare the agenda for the on-site assessment visit and submit to and coordinate it with the higher education institution /college  for adding definite participants of the meetings and additional activities.
  • The higher education institution/college shall provide adequate conditions, premises and equipment for the assessment process of the on-site visit.
  • The HEI or college should provide an opportunity for each representative of the HEI or college if they wish to meet the group of experts.


Procedures during on-site visit:

  • During the on-site visit, upon request of the Agency or the experts group, the higher education institution/college shall make available the informative support/infrastructure of the study direction, including library resources, material and technical provision, final theses (if any), examination materials, and other resources. The higher education institution/college shall also provide adequate premises and equipment for the assessment process of the on-site visit.
  • The breaks (coffee breaks, lunch, dinner) shall be organised separately from the representatives of the higher education institution/college, unless proposed otherwise by the head of the experts group.


N.B. 
Within one on-site assessment visit, a representative of the higher education institution/college may take part only in sole meeting with the experts group, except cases where such an option has been previously discussed and agreed with the assessment coordinator. The meeting with the teaching staff and students shall take place in the absence of the representatives of the management of the higher education institution/college. Furthermore, no list of students shall be prepared during the respective meeting with the students.

 

N.B. The working language during the on-site assessment visit shall be English, unless otherwise agreed with the Agency. The higher education institution/college may involve an interpreter, subject to a previous agreement with the Agency before the on-site visit. The interpreter may not be involved in the implementation of the study direction to be assessed. The costs resulting from involving an interpreter shall be borne by the higher education institution/college.

 

Actions to Undertake if Factual Errors Have Been Identified in Experts’ Joint Report?

 

N.B. The higher education institution/ college may, within 10 working days since the joint report has been received, may provide comments on factual errors detected in the joint report by the experts group by submitting to the Agency a form with comments by the higher education institution/college on the factual errors detected in the joint report by the experts group, in compliance with Annex 4 to Cabinet Regulations No. 407. The comments on the factual errors together with justification thereof shall be submitted to the Centre both electronically and in paper format in Latvian together with the respective translation thereof in English.

 

N.B. A factual error is a non-conformity of the information provided in the joint report by the group of experts with the information submitted by a HEI or college or information received during the on-site visit. A HEI or college have to prove this factual error by documents.

 

N.B. The Agency submits the comments on factual errors identified in the experts’ joint report and received from a HEI or college to the HEIs’ group of experts. The HEIS’ group of experts review the comments on factual errors in the experts’ joint report submitted by the HEI or college and within five business days after the receipt of these comments summarized in a document should submit the final version of the experts’ joint report, and the Agency submits it to the HEI or college.

 

 

Who Takes Decision on Accreditation of Study Direction?

 

The Study Accreditation Committee shall take the decision on the accreditation of the study direction and the deadline thereof or on the refusal to accredit the study direction on the basis of the following documents:

  • documents, submitted by the higher education institution/college;
  • the conformity assessment;
  • the joint report by the experts group;
  • a form with comments filled in and submitted by the higher education institution/college about the factual errors detected in the joint report by the experts group, if any;
  • information provided by the SEQS and the certification institutions, if any.

If necessary, the Study Accreditation Committee shall inspect the actual circumstances in the higher education institution/college, and other information provided to the Committee.

 

Procedure of taking decision is described in the Rules of Procedure of Committee for the Accreditation of Studies

 

N.B. Within 10 business days after the Committee has taken its decision, the Agency should submit it to the HEI or college. If the Committee has taken a decision to accredit a study direction or to introduce amendments to the accreditation form of the study direction, then the Agency should within 10 business days after the decision has been taken submit to the Ministry of Education and Science a copy of the decision and the accreditation form of the study direction prepared by the Agency (Annex 11 of the Cabinet Regulations No. 407 of 14 July 2015). The Ministry of Education and Science should within 10 business days, following the receipt of the copy of the decision by the Committee for the Accreditation of Studies and the accreditation form of the study direction, issue to the Agency the accreditation form of the study direction signed by the Minister for Education and Science. The Agency should issue the accreditation form of the study direction, signed by the Minister for Education and Science, to the HEI or college as well as will register it.

 

 

In Which Cases Accreditation of Study Direction Is Rejected?

The Committee for the Accreditation of Studies may take a decision to refuse to accredit a study direction of a HEI or college in cases provided in the Law on Institutions of Higher Education, if:

  • the experts’ joint report by the group of experts or an individual expert (if the expertise was carried out by one expert) is negative;
  • a study programme or study programmes in a HEI or college in the relevant study direction does not comply with the provisions of this law or other regulatory enactments;
  • the study, informative base (including the library), material technical, financial base and qualification of the academic staff members of the HEI or college does not comply with the requirements for implementing the study programme or study programmes in the relevant study directions;
  • study programmes for granting the Master’s or Doctoral degree are not based on achievements and scientific findings in the respective field of science;
  • a HEI or college has not eliminated the deficiencies identified in the previous accreditation of the study direction in compliance with the provisions of Paragraph 3 of the Law on Institutions of Higher Education.

 

May Accreditation Decision Be Contested?

The decision taken by the Committee may be contested in the Centre according to the designed internal appeals procedure for appeals review set out in the Appeals Procedure of the Appeals Committee approved by the Centre. The decision taken by the Centre may be appealed in the court in compliance with the procedure set out in the Administrative Procedure Law.

 

Follow-up Activities

After the completed assessment process and taking the decision on accreditation of the study direction, the higher education institution/college shall perform appropriate activities, the aim of which is to improve the study direction and to eliminate the deficiencies detected during the accreditation process of the study direction as well as to implement the recommendations for the improvement of the study direction given by the experts group.

 

The higher education institution or the college shall, within three months since the day on which the decision on the accreditation of the study direction has been taken, electronically submit to the Agency the Plan for implementation of recommendations for study direction given by the experts group. The Agency has designed the sample of the plan for the implementation of recommendations by the experts group, and urges higher education institutions/ colleges to use it.

 

Agency shall, within one month since the date, on which the plan has been received, review the plan submitted by the higher education institution/college and, if necessary, request the higher education institution/college to amend it.

 

If the study direction is accredited for two years, the higher education institution/college shall submit electronically a report on implementation of the recommendations given by the experts group to the Agency, within the six-month period since the decision on accreditation of the study direction has been taken.

 

If the study direction is accredited for six years, the higher education institution/college shall submit electronically a report on implementation of the recommendations given by the experts group, within the twelve-month period since the decision on accreditation of the study direction has been taken.

 

The Agency shall, within the one-month period since the date, on which the report has been received, review the activities performed by the higher education institution/college to improve the study direction, as well as other information on the implementation of the study programmes in the relevant study direction. If fundamental deficiencies are detected, the Agency shall inform the Committee which shall decide on the accreditation status of the study direction.

 

The Agency has designed the internal procedure regulating the follow-up activities, set out in the Follow-up Procedure approved by the Centre.