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H.E. Ambassador of Latvia visited Tampere universities community

Latvian Ambassador visit Tampere Universities
Ambassador of Latvia Ms. Kristine Naseniece spent a day in Tampere and met representatives of Tampere universities community on the 30th of September. The purpose of her first visit to Tampere was to get familiarized with the city and to explore possibilities of strengthening the bond between the two countries.

Benchmarking Tampere Universities community

In recent years, we have seen a global trend of mergers in higher education institutions. Even though the number of HEI’s is getting smaller, the versatility of the degrees offered is increasing.

The merger of Tampere University and the creation of the Tampere universities community is a great success story for the whole Tampere region. As similar mergers are being planned by Latvian higher education institutions, Ambassador Naseniece showed great interest towards our experiences.

Extensive discussions covered the development of the Tampere universities community and its practical aspects, the changes in services during the merger and the plans for the near future. The ambassador appreciated the first-hand information she got from the representatives of both Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

“Even though the two countries are of different sizes and population numbers, Finland can still be a good benchmark for Latvia.”

Difficult times may open new opportunities

Both Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences already have partnerships with several Latvian higher education institutions, with a range from student and staff mobility to joint research projects. The visit of the Latvian Ambassador brought new ideas to the table for joined programmes and proposals for new collaborations and activities to strengthen the existing ones.

Currently, there are 319 Finnish students in Latvian HEI’s and 40 Latvian students completing their Finnish degree in Finnish HEI's. Specifically, there are 9 Latvian degree students in TAMK and 5 in Tampere University. Thanks to the geographical position of the two countries, the student mobility may increase in the future.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected both student mobility and teaching altogether. It has asserted the need for remote teaching tools. The ambassador was eager to learn about the means and procedures applied in the Tampere universities to tackle the challenges arising during this era.

"These changes might be an opportunity to increase student exchange to neighbouring countries and beyond," the Ambassador commented and encouraged us to network more with Nordic and Baltic countries in mind.

 

Text by: Dimitra Panopoulou-Huovila
Photo by Krista Merikoski