The Estonian parliament has passed a new University of Tartu Act
On February 16th, the Estonian parliament passed University of Tartu Act and also changed the Universities Act, modifying the institution’s management structure and more precisely defining its functions as the national university of Estonia.
Tõnis Lukas, the Minister of Education and Research points out how the function of the national university is emphasised in the renewed law. “As a nation we have come to an agreement to make sure that Estonian language and culture will abide, despite of the changing times! The national university is bound to encourage research concerning Estonia, Estonian people and the education in Estonian language, as well as to preserve the national cultural heritage in its possession. The law obliges Tartu University to preserve and develop its buildings that are part of Estonian cultural heritage; preserve art collections containing culturally and historically valuable assets; and provide the public with services that are connected to these goals.”
According to the university rector Alar Karis, the change in the law is a compromise that allows desired developments and also modernizes the management of the university.
“In 2010 the university council took a decision to modernize university management, which has now become a clear direction of development. Putting all this into practice has yet to start.” explained Karis.
Alar Karis is convinced that the renewed University of Tartu Act makes the role of UT as Estonian national university more significant because of the rights, assignments and great responsibility that come with this title.
The new act enacts a management structure that consists of a Council and a Senate. The Council will consist of 11 members, five of them elected by the university (one of these has to be a student), five by the government and one by Estonian Academy of Sciences. Members of the board should have flawless reputation, knowledge about management of higher education and research activities and they may not be members of the Estonian Parliament Riigikogu or the government. The Council is elected for five years. The Senate will have 22 members, including four members from every scientific field of the university and five representatives of the students. The Senate will be led by the rector.
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