Estonian Academy of Security Sciences successful at institutional accreditation
The assessment committee of the Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA) decided to accredit the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences (EASS) for seven years. EASS is the first higher education institution to pass a new cycle of the institutional accreditation.
It was decided at the EKKA higher education assessment committee meeting this week to accredit EASS for seven years and award EASS with the EKKA quality label. The committee highlighted the achievements in the areas of resources and study programmes. Among the strengths, the committee noted the good cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and other stakeholders and also the new study building in Tallinn which is a prime example of a good teaching and learning environment.
The academy has set an ambitious goal to become the best European centre of its kind and thus pays particular attention to the achievement of the respective performance indicators. The academy is also very well managed marked by dynamic and focussed activities and highly committed and motivated staff.
The rector of EASS Marek Link stated that the EKKA assessment committee decision is a highly important recognition to our work. “The positive accreditation decision gives us confidence that all the reforms and developments undertaken in the name of enhancing Estonian internal security have been successful,” he adds.
Among the main strengths of the academy, Link underlines the new study building in Tallinn but also curriculum development that was similarly acknowledged by the assessment committee.
“Our new building is interactive allowing practical instruction at an excellent level. The study building boasting the latest solutions in educational technology only enhances the image of Estonia as a digital country. The strength of our curricula is primarily related with our cooperation with the employers – Police and Border Guard Board, Rescue Board, Emergency Response Centre, Tax and Customs Board and Prison Service – thus ensuring that the graduates of EASS have all the means to start a successful career in the labour market.”
Link also added that the academy will be faced with several challenges in the coming years. “We certainly want to become more international,” he says. “The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) will need about 10,000 new employees in the coming years and it is our aim to be one of those training centres. It is also important to increase the academy’s capacity in research and applied research studies. In addition to Tallinn, we also provide instruction in Paikuse and Väike-Maarja where we would similarly like to update the infrastructure and thus further improve the learning conditions.”
One of the challenges highlighted by the international assessment committee was the small number of academic staff with a doctoral degree and the given issue certainly needs our attention especially when considering the important role played by EASS in the field of internal security. As the provision of a multicultural learning environment is also a central goal for the academy, it is important to encourage international mobility among both students and lecturers and also to provide means for internationalisation “at home”.
All Estonian higher education institutions must undergo institutional accreditation every seven years. Institutional accreditation is external evaluation which assesses the conformity of a university’s management, work procedures, study and research activities and study and research environment to legislation and the goals and development plan of the university. The assessment is conducted by an international expert committee whose report will form the basis for the accreditation decision made by the EKKA higher education assessment committee. EASS underwent its first institutional accreditation in 2012. Read the accreditation decision and reports here.
Director of Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education
Tel. 517 8197
e-mail: heli.mattisen [at] archimedes.ee