1 September

Posted: September 1st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: education, personal | No Comments »

Today was the start of the new academic year. Interesting things happened:

  • attended the opening ceremony at the university, which was nice, especially the music;
  • signed the new employment contract;
  • had for breakfast and lunch cake which was offered on the occasion of the start of the academic year;
  • had two introductory lectures for two courses I will teach (after a break in teaching since march);
  • went cycling at kakumäe, came back to Koidu home with the bike in rain, got very wet;
  • koidu home was still rather cold, and I was cold and wet (see above) so decided to heat up the sauna, went to the sauna, enjoyed it.


Posted: June 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: cool, education, films | No Comments »

Bill Maher’s brilliant new film Religulous is coming soon. Will it be the God Delusion of documentary films?

It look promising, looking at the trailers. Visit disbeliefnet as well.

Welcome to our new TUT overlords

Posted: April 23rd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: education, university | No Comments »

It was made public today that International University Audentes is to merge with Tallinn University of Technology, if everything goes according to the plan, then by the end of this academic year. Although I do not really know what will happen, I am cautiously optimistic as having a backing of a larger educational institution allows to develop faster and further. I do not want to say anything bad about Audentes, so I will not say anything.

One thing that irritates me is the constant name changes of this institution I am associated with. Concordia International University Estonia’s assets were bought by Audentes Mainor University (itself a result of several mergers), which was renamed Audentes University, with the international studies institution named International University Concordia Audentes. Then the two institutions were put together under the name International University Audentes, a name which I personally despised. So now a new chapter will begin, if everything goes according to plans.

The draft of the new laws on higher education

Posted: April 3rd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: education, Estonia, university | No Comments »

If anyone is interested, then here is the new draft on the quality reform (in Estonian). Pretty interesting.

Some thoughts about the Estonian Higher Education Quality Reform

Posted: April 3rd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: education, Estonia, european union, university | No Comments »

It was announced yesterday that there are going to be changes in the accreditation of Estonian higher education institutions, mainly that institutional accreditation is going to be introduced. This means that any university which passes this will be operate with constant fear of losing some of its programmes and can focus on continuous institution-building, rather than worrying only about specific curricula. This also allows the universities to be more efficient, flexible and synergetic.

I do not really know what exactly this means for my current employer, but in any case it is much better to finally have clarity on these issues. Too long has the Estonian higher education system been in legal limbo, and it is too long that certain practices and obviously worthless institutions have been allowed to exist.

In my opinion having a competitive and efficient higher education market is a prerequisite for Estonia’s long term economic development. The stepts announced yesterday will definitely bring us closer to that, but there are also many uncertainties in the application of the quality reform. There is a threat, that could derail the reform, or not bring the desired results.

Although there has been much talk about being internationally competitive, Estonia’s higher education laws do not really allow for meaningful international cooperation to take place (joint degrees and diplomas have still not been allowed for example). This is not a problem only for Estonia, but the whole EU: in a situtation where there is a common market, common laws on commercial activities, movement of goods and provision of services, the higher education market has remained fractured. This is due to lack of coordination: even the much discussed Bologna reform remains to be completed.

Universities are still very national entities: we talk mostly about UK, Belgian, French, German, Finnish, etc universities, but not European universities. Compare this with the US, where location of a university does not really matter that much (Harvard is Harvard, regardless of its location).

For Estonia, the best option would be to be open. Open to students coming in and supportive of students going out. Open to cooperation with other universities in the strive for internationalisation of higher education. This requires a significant shift away from the current local-student-oriented approach, real competitions for staff instructors, and, in most areas, shift away from Estonian as the full language of instruction.

It also requires that universities develop its own niches where they can offer world-class education and research. Estonia is way small for everything under the sun to be taught here, locally. But we can concentrate on a few areas where we can be internationally competitive.

Human Rights Week at International University Audentes

Posted: November 11th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: education, films, university | No Comments »

The Human Rights Centre at International University Audentes is having a Human Rights Week. More info from www.humanrights.ee.

Lifelong and lifewide education

Posted: April 22nd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: education, thoughts | No Comments »

I work in education. One of the more interesting concepts being touted at the moment is the idea of lifelong (and lifewide) education. I like those ideas quite a lot. Essentially they mean that education is no longer divided among age lines, but also that education is no longer confined to educational institutions or formal settings. Education takes place at the workplace, during free time etc.

Sure, young people still go to school, but after that it is no longer that simple: people learn and should learn throughout their lives. This means that the concept of education has to change as well. There is a shift in paradigm coming (or has it already arrived). Those educational institutions who accept and embrace this will be much better equipped for future than those who do not. I hope my institution is among the latter.