Certification procedures for international dental students will be improved
On May 9, the government supported the proposition from the Cabinet of Ministers, which provides for the development of certification procedures for international dental students. This means that a problem, that has been continuing for several years, will be addressed regarding international students who have completed the dental programme in English, yet cannot receive their certification, because in one of the statutory clauses it is said that to fulfill the requirements and to obtain their certificate a C1 level of knowledge must be shown in the state official language (Latvian).
In the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, which was attended by and their opinions were voiced by the representatives of the Student Union of Latvia (hereinafter – LSA), a conceptual report was reviewed, created by the Ministry of Health, “On the necessity to develop the certification procedures for international dental students” and after extensive discussions another variant was accepted by the Ministry of Health and supported by LSA. Based on the agreed propositions and changes, the requirement of displaying a C1 level knowledge of the state official language will be abolished. At the same time the powers of the State Language Centre were expanded regarding administrative fines in the case of non-compliance with state language normative acts, as well as determining the responsibility of employers for the necessary level of knowledge of the official state language.
LSA has responded positively to the raised concerns of Rīga Stradiņš University and the University of Latvia student representatives, who have made the problem known regarding the obscurities of international dental students receiving their certificates. In LSA’s opinion it is crucial that the government is committed to solving the long–standing problem and improving the procedures of international dental student certification. Increasing global competition in higher education and a continually regressing trend in the potential number of Latvian students, it is paramount to promote higher education and research internationalization, and advance international competitiveness in these fields.
Currently, to improve international dental student certification procedures, the government has given their approval, yet there is still a significant amount of work to be done. The Ministry of Health will have to develop amendments to the laws and regulations and duly submit them to the Cabinet of Ministers. LSA plans to continue to work on this issue, providing the Ministry of Health with their guidance and opinions on amendments to the legislation.