Recommendation 3: Continue efforts to realign system capacity with demographic decline, fiscal reality and labour market needs

Latvia should continue its various reform initiatives that support the rationalisation of the tertiary education system through consolidation of institutions and study programmes, promotion of collaborations, etc. The progress of these efforts should be carefully monitored. In case progress towards a sustainable tertiary education system is found to be too slow and/ or insufficient, Latvia should consider developing a national framework for the future size and shape of its tertiary education system that is to provide guidance for further rationalisation. Latvia may need to consider further consolidation - if not closure - of institutions. If it relies primarily on the initiative of individual institutions to undertake these changes, there is no guarantee that the resulting configuration of institutions will be in the best interests of the country.

A national framework could set forth criteria for consolidation and reconfiguration, including such questions as:

  • • geographic distribution
  • • profile or mission: strengthening capacity at the professional tertiary level, concentrating capacity for globally competitive research and doctoral (science degrees), maintaining mission differentiation
  • • collaboration and alliances: joint study programmes, joint appointments of academic and research staff, mobility of students between and among institutions
  • • shared services: sharing non-academic support services related to financial and management functions and human resources.
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