Starting from 1 November, Latvian Maritime Academy (LMA) becomes an autonomous organisational unit of Riga Technical University (RTU), continuing all existing LMA study programmes, ensuring maritime education in accordance with international conventions and overtaking LMA obligations, but retaining the name, identity and traditions of the academy. It is anticipated to invest approximately seven million EUR into the LMA and RTU integration project, in order to strengthen their study and research capacity and develop the training infrastructure of LMA.
«This decision has been very thoroughly prepared, and our main condition, when promoting the integration of LMA, is to ensure that specialists will continue to be trained in accordance with international standards also further on. Thus, LMA will exist as a separate organisational unit of RTU, retaining its identity, traditions, personnel and location,» said Director of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of the Ministry of Education and Science, Deputy State Secretary Dmitrijs Stepanovs to media at the arranged informative event.
The Ministry of Education and Science, LMA and RTU have concluded a cooperation agreement to ensure correct integration of LMA into RTU. LMA will continue to be the only educational establishment in Latvia providing higher maritime vocational education from the Bachelor’s and up to the Doctor’s level. Continuity of all study agreements will be ensured – the study process for students of LMA and LMA Maritime School will be continued in the traditional order.
«LMA has always been developing and now we hope for turbo development and that the Ministry of Education and Science will supervise us being always provided with new and beautiful sails,» said LMA Rector Kristīne Carjova. Following integration into RTU, she will become the LMA Director.
D. Stepanovs confirmed that LMA will have an opportunity to submit a project application for receiving funding from the European Recover and Resilience Facility, where targeted funds are anticipated exactly for consolidation projects in order to ensure renewal of the academic personnel, strengthening of research and academic capacity and acquisition of the required study process equipment and development of different digital solutions. Currently, it is planned that LMA and RTU will be able to obtain approximately seven million EUR to develop the study and research infrastructure and human resources, as well as to ensure a closer cooperation with the industry, said RTU Vice-Rector for Strategic Development Artūrs Zeps.
Starting from 1 November, RTU will overtake all existing LMA obligations with students and employees – general and academic personnel, will relieve the LMA administrative process load and will undertake responsibility for all structural fund projects implemented by LMA and, thus, cooperation with the Central Finance and Contracting Agency.
Following LMA integration into RTU, the certified quality management system will be supported, ensuring supervision of the vocational training process for seafarers in accordance with external regulatory enactments and compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) adopted in 1978.
To ensure independence and sustainable development of maritime education, having listened to proposals of the Maritime Administration of Latvia, LMA Maritime Council will be established. It will be a collegial institution supervising the strategic management of LMA, being involved in decision-taking regarding the budget and the head of the academy, its strategic planning and directing of investments for LMA development. Ten professionals are planned to work in the Council, nominating by two persons from LMA, RTU, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Transport and the industry organisations – Latvian Crewing Companies Association and Seafarers’ Union of Merchant Fleet.
LMA Maritime School will also operate in RTU ecosystem – it will continue being a part of LMA and will operate under direct supervision of the LMA Director. The study process at LMA Maritime School will be conducted the same way as up to now.
«The incorporation of LMA is beneficial for both parties, as LMA academic personnel will be provided with an opportunity to work with the scientific infrastructure available at RTU laboratories in Ķīpsala to perform their scientific research,» said RTU Rector Leonīds Ribickis. He emphasises that, by integrating LMA into its structure, RTU as the university of science will also become stronger, being capable to participate in scientific project competitions together with LMA, for example, in sea research, which has not yet been started by RTU. As an example of successful consolidation, RTU Rector mentioned the integration of Estonian Maritime Academy into Tallinn University of Technology, this way ensuring the academy’s fast development.
A decision of integrating LMA into RTU was taken by the Latvian government on 5 July. The integration of LMA into RTU is one of the stages in the plan of the Ministry of Education and Science on consolidating higher education institutions.