EKA passed Institutional Accreditation with best possible results

Photo: Marek Metslaid

The Evaluation Council of the Estonian Quality Agency for Education (HAKA) has decided to accredit the Estonian Academy of Arts for the next seven years. EKA achieved the best possible result and will be awarded the HAKA quality label.


Heli Mattisen, Director of HAKA, explains that international experts have found several solutions and approaches for the EKA that can serve as a model for higher education institutions in the arts worldwide. “With scarce resources, the Estonian University of the Arts has managed to achieve international excellence in so many aspects,” she adds.

The decision was taken by the Evaluation Council on the basis of the report of the international evaluation panel. The decision singled out EKA’s rectorate’s ability to cope with unforeseen situations (Covid-19 and support for Ukraine and Ukrainians), its efficient management and the development of good governance practices, which in turn promote EKA’s horizontal governance model, as deserving of recognition. In particular, the Commission also highlighted EKA’s Open Academy, which as a centre for continuing education is committed to the development of creative thinking and creative skills and promotes the application of these competences in almost all areas of life.

In addition, EKA’s community of committed staff, students, alumni and stakeholders, which is collaborative, open, flexible and supportive, has a good understanding of the university’s mission and acts accordingly, was positively highlighted. EKA’s teaching staff is highly qualified. They value continuous self-development and support for learner development. EKA is open to innovation in teaching and learning, as evidenced by its excellent digital learning environment and many other innovative approaches.

Rector Mart Kalm was delighted with the excellent results: “The accreditation result of EKA is better than expected. For such a small university, where there are always more requirements than there are people to meet them, the institutional accreditation process was a real effort. The excellent result confirms that EKA has the capacity to provide education at all levels of higher education and that we do so at an internationally outstanding level.

The positive backdrop to the accreditation result was our 50-place leap in the QS Rankings of the world’s top universities in art and design and this year’s record number of applications. These are interlinked developments that confirm we are doing the right thing!”

Anne Pikkov, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, added: “We got the reassurance that we deliver what we promise and do it well! EKA’s curricula are of internationally high quality – thanks to our excellent faculty and students. We are very proud to be recognised in a number of areas of the university’s activities – in governance, in the use of resources, but also in service to society. This recognition is a reflection of our commitment not only to academic excellence, but also to our wider social responsibility.”

More details on the strengths, areas for improvement and recommendations highlighted can be found on the website of the Estonian Education Quality Agency.

The institutional accreditation news comes against a backdrop of record applications. EKA received 1,073 applications for admission this year, a record for the last twelve years. This year, the largest increases in applications were recorded for the Bachelor of Arts and Visual Arts Studies and the Master of Interior Architecture programmes. Traditionally, the highest competition was for graphic design at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

All higher education institutions operating in Estonia must undergo institutional accreditation at least once every seven years. During this process, an international panel of experts assesses the compliance of the institution’s management, work organisation, teaching and research activities, and teaching and research environment with legislation, the institution’s objectives and its development plan. On the basis of the evaluation report, the accreditation decision is taken by the HAKA Higher Education Evaluation Council.

The Estonian Education Quality Agency is responsible for assessing the quality of education and training institutions and promoting a culture of quality in education. HAKA operates as an independent and autonomous unit within the Education and Youth Board.

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Posted by Laura Jüristo