European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development
The EU and internationalization related courses are usually included in study programmes of social sciences, such as
- Public Relations,
- International Relations, and other.
Nevertheless, the EU legislation and European dimension is discussed in other study programmes, too. E.g. in the academic study programme of Environmental Science in the University of Daugavpils, issues like environmental protection in the EU and EU legislation in the particular field are discussed. In the University of Latvia the programme of Geography (at Bachelor level) includes the course of Regional Development and Politics that covers the EU issues. The EU-related issues are also discussed in other education programmes and courses – Food Chemistry and Expertise, the EU Requirements for the Food Quality etc.
In the University of Latvia (the biggest state university) European dimension is integrated in compulsory (A level) courses. Students of pedagogy at Bachelor and Master levels are taught about the Bologna declaration and process, education systems of other European countries and the EU benchmarks, as well as other EU-related issues.
In the professional study programme for Teachers of History at the University of Daugavpils, a course Methodology of History is delivered, including the analysis of methodology of other EU countries, the role that lessons of history take in other education systems, and an outline of EU recommendations. In the professional education programme for a Teacher of Social Sciences, the study course Political System of Latvia includes the analysis on the role and competencies of Latvian governmental institutions following the integration into the EU. Another course for the same programme is Methodology of Social Sciences, where methodology of other EU countries is discussed as well as general awareness is raised on the role that social sciences play in the curriculum of EU countries. The education programme Teacher of Geography also has a course on EU-related issues, namely, Integration of Latvia into the EU.
Other institutions of higher education (e.g. Rēzekne Academy of Technologies, Liepāja University) also offer courses on the EU for future teachers, especially in the fields of history and social studies. Academy of Sports Education of Latvia also offers several courses on EU-related issues.
It is also possible to participate in programmes in languages other than Latvian, implemented by Latvian higher education institution together with some foreign country resulting in obtaining a certificate of a foreign university testifying completion of the programme and also collect credit points for the Latvian programme.
Partnerships and networks
University of Latvia was the coordinating body of the Baltic Sea Region University Network (BSRUN) from July 2010 till June 2013 replacing the long term coordinator and the founder of the network – the University of Turku, Finland. BSRUN has been founded on February 28, 2000 in Turku, Finland. The network unites around 30 universities from 7 countries – Belarus, Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland. Latvia is represented by University of Latvia, Latvia University of Agriculture and Riga Technical University. In May 2011 the network organised Baltic Seminar of University Administrators “University-Business Co-operation for Regional Development” in Rīga.
As an example of excellence’s island the Centre for the Cognitive Sciences and Semantics (CCSS) of the University of Latvia can be mentioned. The CCSS is dedicated to the comprehensive study of mind and meaning from an inclusive, collegial, and multidisciplinary perspective, simultaneously coordinating, networking, and integrating the Centre’s activities into the international framework of contemporary cognitive sciences.
The CCSS organizes international Symposia, Summer Schools, publishes the Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication and leads different interdisciplinary and international research projects. The CCSS and the Yearbook unites leading European and North American researchers working in some of the areas of Cognitive Sciences. The Centre’s activities are aimed but not limited to academic audiences and are of interest to students and researchers in the field of cognitive sciences as well as in connected disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, computer sciences and linguistics. Authorities responsible for organizing, coordinating and funding of the Centre’s activities are University of Latvia, the Ministry of Culture, the Department of Philosophy at Kansas State University (USA) and other supporters.
Erasmus+ programme supports various international partnership projects in higher education, for instance ‘Student innovation labs – a way to sustainable and socially responsible growth’ project brings together HE institutions and business and industry organizations from Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Denmark. Supported by the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme, Biz4EYE project allows young creative entrepreneurs to practice business in real scenario, supporting them in the creation and development of their companies in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Finland.