New model for doctoral studies; students to receive remuneration

(14.03.2024.)

On Thursday, 14 March, the Saeima adopted amendments to the Law on Higher Education Institutions, establishing a new model for doctoral studies, changing the funding procedure, introducing remuneration for doctoral students for the duration of their studies, and creating a unified doctoral degree conferral procedure.

While the number of doctoral students fulfils Latvia’s research capacity, due to the large number of dropouts, Latvia places last in the EU by the number of people earning a doctoral degree, underlined the authors of the draft law from the Ministry of Education and Science, explaining the need to change the doctoral study model to the Saeima Education, Culture and Science Committee responsible for the progress of the draft law.

According to the authors of the draft law, a major reason behind the large number of doctoral student dropouts is the previous funding model, which could not cover the actual cost of doctoral studies, undermined the sustainability of doctoral studies, and did not increase quality. Doctoral students receive low income in the form of a scholarship, which reduces the time available for studies, the quality of the doctoral thesis, the number of people awarded a doctoral degree, and, as a result, the replacement of academic and research staff in higher education and science.

The Law is amended with a new section on the employment of doctoral students. According to the amendments, doctoral students are to enter an employment contract on performing academic work to achieve study goals. The new rules will apply to doctoral students enrolling this autumn. The Cabinet will determine the system for calculating remuneration. Existing doctoral students will be eligible for a scholarship according to the previous procedure.

Doctoral study programmes will be provided by doctoral study schools under a unified approach, and higher education institutions may only establish such schools under the condition of adequate performance in the relevant field. Doctoral study schools will provide opportunities to study in doctoral study programmes in line with the strategic specialisation, a procedure for creating and defending a doctoral thesis, doctoral theoretical research, or artistic creation, and a procedure for awarding a doctoral degree.

In addition, the amendments stipulate the provisions regarding the awarding of a doctoral degree and the Doctoral Degree Conferral Council, which is responsible for evaluating the doctoral thesis and awarding a doctoral degree. Moreover, the amendments provide for the awarding of a Ph. D. in Arts, and the State Examination Commission responsible for evaluating doctoral theoretical research and artistic creations necessary for obtaining the degree.

According to the amendments, a higher education institution will have the right to annul a higher education diploma if obtained in violation of academic integrity, with plagiarism or other acts in bad faith.

The explanatory note to the draft law underlines that over the past two decades the role and objectives of doctoral studies have radically changed, especially in Europe. Doctoral studies have become an important link connecting the European higher education and research area, and their main task is to ensure that people with a doctoral degree are equipped with the best possible qualifications for creating, applying, and disseminating new knowledge and innovation.

The Saeima also adopted related amendments to the Law on Scientific Activity. The amendments will enter into force on 1 May 2024, and the new doctoral study model will be fully operational from 1 January 2027.

 

Saeima Press Service

Trešdien, 19.jūnijā
08:45  Saeimas priekšsēdētājas biedres, Saeimas deputātu grupas sadarbības veicināšanai ar Vācijas parlamentu vadītājas Zandas Kalniņas-Lukaševicas, Saeimas Aizsardzības, iekšlietu un korupcijas novēršanas komisijas priekšsēdētāja Raimonda Bergmaņa un komisijas deputātu tikšanās ar Vācijas Federatīvās Republikas Bundestāga Aizsardzības komisijas delegāciju
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15:00  Saeimas Tautsaimniecības, agrārās, vides un reģionālās politikas komisijas un Klimata un enerģētikas ministrijas rīkotā diskusija “Latvijas enerģētikas izaicinājumi 2050. gadam”
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