International experts: Tallinn University of Technology has reason to aspire to be among the top universities in the world

International accreditation assessment committees visited Tallinn University of Technology, TTK University of Applied Sciences and Lääne-Viru College this autumn. On the basis of the reports of the assessment committees the EKKA (Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency) Quality Assessment Council adopted a decision on 28 January to accredit Tallinn University of Technology and TTK University of Applied Sciences for seven years and Lääne-Viru College for three years.   

The committees included heads of higher education institutions, consultants and professionals from Great Britain, the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania and Estonia.

The committee acknowledged the activities of Tallinn University of Technology in the internationalisation process, its success in yielding research funds from Estonian and EU resources and increase in the amount of research contracts signed with enterprises. Most of the university campus has been completed, which is evidence of efficient management of financial resources. The student support systems and various initiatives in the development of entrepreneurship, e.g. launching the European Innovation Academy and the activities of Tallinn Science Park and the Innovation and Business Centre Mektory, are impressive.

In the coming years, the committee recommends the university to focus on improving the efficiency of PhD studies, to find ways to diversify the sources of income, to increase interdisciplinarity and to update the system of continuing education. One of the recommendations of the committee is addressed rather to the state of Estonia – to decrease project-based funding of research in order to ensure long-term research development in the areas of importance for Estonia.

“The decision of the accreditation assessment committee confirms that TUT is on the right track and no significant changes are required in the fields of study or in study programmes, we just need to become increasingly better in every sphere. This is certainly easy to say, but difficult to do. However, this is just what we plan,”  Erkki Truve, Vice-Rector for Research said.

 In the case of Tallinn University of Technology, the experts pointed out management and development of the university’s infrastructure, incl. the study information system ÕIS and efficient collaboration with the employers in the development of study programmes. The committee recommended to set clear priorities and attainable goals in research and development.   It is important to increase international mobility of the academic staff and students.

 In the case of Lääne-Viru College the experts pointed out collaboration of the higher educational establishment with local enterprises and organisations and implementation of the forms of study tailored to the needs of working students.  An educational institution providing both vocational and higher education must define the learning outcomes of different levels of education more clearly and must specify the methods for assessment of the level of student candidates and the student’s progress. A higher education institution shall set more ambitious goals for its academic staff in the field of research and development.

 All the Estonian higher education institutions must undergo institutional accreditation once in seven years. Institutional accreditation assesses whether the management of the higher education institution as a whole is purposeful and its performance is efficient, but also whether and how the higher education institution considers the expectations of the society and how it guarantees international competitiveness of its graduates. The goal of external evaluation is to support the development of strategic development and quality culture in Estonian higher education institutions.

 Additional information: Minutes of the meeting of EKKA Quality Assessment Council for Higher Education

Contact person: Heli Mattisen, Director of Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency (EKKA), phone +372 517 8197