Quality Agency for Higher Education (AIKA)/ Academic Information Centre (AIC)
|Street name:||Valnu iela 2|
|Postal code and City:||LV-1050, Riga|
|Contact person:||Andrejs Rauhvargers|
|Function of contact person:||Head of the Latvian Quality Agency for Higher Education|
Legal Bases/ Membership
Q: What is the legal basis for your agency (non-profit organization, for-profit organization, foundation, association etc.)?
A: AIKA is a department of the foundation Academic Information Centre. The foundation Academic Information Centre is nominated to organize external quality assurance of tertiary education by the Law On Institutions of Higher Education and the decision of Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia Nr.640 of Nov 3, 2014.
AIKA is supervised by the Higher Education Quality Assurance Council 1. AIKA is independent in developing its principles and procedures for quality assessment and in adopting assessment decisions.
Q: Who are the members of your agency?
1 The Higher Education Quality Assurance Council is comprised of chairpersons of Latvian stakeholder organisations: Council of Higher Education, Rectors’ Council, Association of Colleges, Employers Confederation, Students Association, Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees, Association of Art Higher Education Institutions, Council of Science, Agricultural Organisation Cooperation Council, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Association of Physicians, a representative of the National Economy Council, as well as a representative of a foreign accreditation agency
Q: Is evaluation/accreditation by your agency a national requirement? What procedures are mandatory – if any and what are chosen voluntarily/additionally?
A: The evaluation/accreditation by AIKA is a national requirement. AIKA in accordance with legal framework- the
Law On Institutions of Higher Education and the respective Government Regulations- is authorized to organize external quality assurance of tertiary education:
- ex-ante assessment or licencing of HE programmes which gives permission to HEI to start programme implementation and enrol students,
- ex-post assessment of both the Higher Education Institutions as a whole and the groups of HE study programmes.
In order to issue State-recognised diplomas, both the HEI as a whole and the group of programmes in question must be accredited. The groups of HE programmes must undergo evaluation and accreditation process once in six years.
Q: Is the agency involved in programme or institutional evaluation/accreditation or both? What are the consequences of evaluation/accreditation outcomes?
A: The consequences of evaluation/accreditation outcomes are:
- for accreditation of group of programmes: a case of non-accreditation the group of programmes in question loses right to issue state-recognised diplomas,
- for licencing a programme (ex-ante): the programme needs a licence to gain permission to start programme implementation and enrol students.
Q: Please describe the structure and the activity periods of the decision-making body and state who delegates/appoints its members.
A: Agency organizes the expert review and prepares a recommendation based on expert group report. The final decision on licencing (ex-ante assessment) of HE programmes or accreditation of the groups of HE programmes
is taken by the Accreditation Board. Accreditation Board consists of seven members selected and approved for the five-year period by the governing body of AIKA– the Higher Education Quality Assurance Council. In the case of
institutional accreditation the decision is made by the Higher Education Council (HEC). The 11 members of HEC are
appointed by the Parliament for the six-year period and they include one representative from such stakeholder organisations as Employers Confederation, Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees, Latvian Students Association, Latvian Council of Science, as well as HEIs and the Ministry of Education and Science.
Q: Can HEIs in your country choose international services from EQAR listed agencies?
A: No, HEIs in Latvia can’t yet choose international services from EQAR listed agencies, but there are ongoing
discussions on this issue.
Q: Please mention the international links of your agency and especially list the international organizations your agency is a member in.
A: AIKA membership in international organizations is:
- affiliate membership of ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) since April 2015.
- full membership of INQAAHE (International Network for Quality Assurance
Agencies in Higher Education) since October 2015
- full member of CEENQA (Central and Eastern European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education) since May 2016
- AIKA also is a member of the non-formal network of the Baltic quality assurance agencies that meets once a year and communicates extensively in between.