According to amendments to the Law on Institutions of Higher Education (Latvijas Vestnesis 257 (5317)), the AIC organizes the accreditation of HEIs and study directions and licensing of study programmes. Meanwhile, in order to ensure the completion of the specified functions, the AIC established a department whose competence is to organize the accreditation of HEIs and study directions, licensing of study programmes, as well as the implementation of other tasks related to higher education quality assurance. In order to draw attention to the quality function of the AIC, the name of the established department is” Quality Agency for Higher Education”.
In accordance with the regulatory framework, the main functions of the Agency are as follows:
- Ensure the accreditation of institutions of higher education and study directions, as well as licensing of study programmes.
- Ensure the quality monitoring/improvement of study directions.
- Perform the analysis at the system level, carry out research, participate in the projects related to external quality assurance matters.
- Inform society about assessment results.
- Provide the necessary information and support for HEIs/colleges and other stakeholders.
- Develop procedures and guidelines for ensuring the functions of the Agency.
- Participate in international networks for external quality assurance.
The main strategic objectives of the Quality Agency for Higher Education of the period 2017 – 2021 are as follows:
- To ensure that the external quality assurance system of Latvian higher education is in compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG);
- To carry out the external quality assessment of Latvian higher education and to promote the improvement of the internal quality assurance system of HEIs, study directions and study programmes;
- To ensure the financial sustainability of the Agency for the implementation of its mission in appropriate quality and in accordance with the accepted values;
- To act as higher education quality assurance competence centre in Latvia and to promote international visibility and recognition of Latvian higher education;
- To promote international cooperation and competitiveness of the Agency through the participation in the processes of the higher education quality assurance policy making, the promotion of quality assessment and enhancement.
Vision, mission and values
Quality agency for higher education is trustful and internationally recognized, it contributes to the continuous quality enhancement of higher education in Latvia and takes active role in quality assurance processes of the European and global higher education area.
The Quality Agency for Higher Education:
- Promotes the improvement of quality of Latvian higher education and contributes to the development of quality culture and its maintenance in accordance with the standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area;
- Carries out the expertise and provides reliable information on higher education quality assessment and development/improvement issues;
- It is a credible partner of HEIs, policy makers, existing and potential students and other stakeholders in Latvia and abroad;
- Its high reputation is provided by the professionalism of employees and experts, accumulated experience in the change management processes of higher education in Europe, including in Eastern and Central Europe.
The Agency in its activities, in the implementation of its functions and tasks ensures the independence, transparency, neutrality, justification and professionalism that is provided by adequate selection of staff and experts, as well as predefined procedures.
The implemented quality of the Agency’s functions and tasks is ensured by appropriate competence of its staff and selected experts, accumulated local and international experience, as well as the continuous competence development.
The activities of the Agency, its brand and reputation is based on effective cooperation in quality assurance in higher education with stakeholders at local and international level.
- The quality policy of the Agency sets requirements for the quality as one of the top This policy defines the quality level as the stage to which extent the Agency’s activities are able to meet regulatory requirements and standards, as well as the needs of stakeholders. Quality policy is an integral part of the quality management system in order to ensure Agency’s coordinated planning and implementa- tion of activities. It contributes to the implementation of the Agency’s mission, strategic objectives and sustainability.
- The Agency’s Quality policy is based on:
- The Law on the Institutions of Higher Education and other regulatory enactments of the Republic of Lat- via, which set out the functions and tasks of the Agency;
- Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG);
- The guidelines of the Agency’s mission, values and strategic development directions;
- The by-laws (rules of procedure) of the Academic In- formation Centre (AIC) and the Code of Ethics.
- The quality principles of the Agency are:
- high quality;
- integrity and reliability;
- continuous improvement;
- a systemic approach and effectiveness;
- responsibility and cooperation.
- The Agency`s quality objectives are:
- to facilitate a common understanding of the quality of higher education and the development of stand- ards and practices in Europe, including Latvia;
- to ensure constantly the Agency’s operations in line with the ESG;
- to promote continuously the cooperation with the stakeholders involved and to provide the public with up-to-date and accurate information on higher edu- cation quality assessment;
- to maintain continuously and develop the quality management system for the systematic implementa- tion of processes and for the enhancement of the quality;
- to increase the efficient use of resources.
- The Agency’s quality management is implemented according to the excellence approach (TQM) adopting it as the organisation’s philos- ophy, which covers all areas of activity.
- For the implementation of the Quality policy and the quality of the process the following conditions are met:
- management understanding and responsibility;
- implemented strategic management;
- the involvement of all staff and a responsible involve- ment in the development of the quality management system, in the maintenance of it and in the evaluation of its effectiveness and improvement;
- cooperation with the stakeholders involved in the im- plementation of the Agency’s mission;
- operational transparency and the assurance of the feedback;
- the effective and efficient use, planning and assur- ance of resources;
- the identification of core processes and the integra- tion of them in the system of processes and measure- ments;
- regular monitoring of the outcomes, as well as the planning of improvements and their implementation;
- motivating staff to increase their competence;
- exchange of experience with other agencies.