Lack of skilled Master students in proper numbers;
Lack awareness in society on importance of science and engineering for economy development of country.
The academic doctoral study program "Electronics" allows to achieve the goals set and is a follow – up for previous two study levels – bachelor's and master's. The present program has been developed as the result of the research activities of the academic staff and the historical development of the study process in Latvia. Each year some corrections of the programs are made following the Senate regulations and due to the necessity to keep pace with the rapidly changing electronics field in the whole world.
The program have analogies in the European Universities, they correspond to and meet the multiform demands of Latvia's labour market.
The main problems at the current moment are:
insufficient financial support for the program;
lack of material motivation for doctoral studies among young people.
The above problems could be overcome based on the results of a thorough analysis of the program and its implementation. The analysis of the program reveals both its advantages and disadvantages, allows to find the most appropriate solutions.
The advantages and opportunities of the program:
the academic staff members have a long experience and high qualification acquired in doing research in the field of electronics;
the small number of doctoral students per academic staff member allows to ensure an individualized approach to the learning process;
evaluation of the program and its implementation by students and graduates from the Faculty is positive;
electronics' students are in high demand in the labour market;
computer classrooms are comparatively up-to-date;
the academic staff is involved in the research process.
The disadvantages of the program:
many staff members are over their fifties;
students and academic staff members are rather seldom involved in international projects;
many students try to combine studies with work, which results in a longer duration of the studies and lowers the quality of studies (the positive side of this is that students acquire additional practical skills ).
The weaknesses of the program pointed out during the previous accreditation:
The experts' reports single out the following major weaknesses:
The Faculty lacks a development plan that would provide for training a new generation of specialists to relieve the present specialists, as well as a plan for renovating the laboratories and for raising the necessary funds;
The demands on the doctoral studies do not correspond to the real possibilities of students to work out in 3 years' time a scientific work and to have the results of their work published in five internationally refereed journals and to make reports at two international conferences (it was recommended to lower the demands for the number of international publications).
The number of doctoral students is small and even those few do not intend staying on to work at the University, since the remuneration cannot compete with what is offered by private companies.
What has been done towards averting the weaknesses:
The Electronics and Telecommunications Faculty has worked out a plan for training a new generation of tutors and renewing the technical basis of the laboratories;
Latvia's Ministry of Education and Sciences has worked out a plan for rejuvenating the academic staff. In accordance with this program, a doctoral student is entitled to receive as from the 1st of September 2003 Ls 60 of credit a month, which will be remitted if the student presents his doctor's thesis in five years time. Laboratory equipment is being updated by concluding contracts with firms.
In 2001 certain alterations were made in the doctoral study program providing for an increase of the number of credit points for the doctor's thesis. At the Faculty a collection of scientific articles by the staff is regularly published. The number of internationally refereed publications has been laid down by the Ministry of Education and Sciences and it is not the competence of the RTU to reduce it.
New doctors who stay on to work at the RTU are to be paid extra Ls150 of working on the academic staff.
The need for the doctoral study program in electronics is caused by the rapid pace of development of electronics, its growing role in various spheres of life in Latvia and the whole world, as well as the technical and the methodical basis created at the Faculty.