Auditor General Alar Karis: Forcing the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to move to Ida-Viru County would be pointless, extremely expensive, jeopardise the quality of internal security training and create serious security risks

Toomas Mattson | 3/13/2017 | 5:48 PM

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TALLINN, 13 March 2017 – When speaking in the Riigikogu today, Auditor General Alar Karis said that moving the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to Ida-Viru County would not be practical. “On the contrary – it would be pointless, extremely expensive, irresponsibly jeopardise the quality of internal security training and create serious security risks,” said Karis when answering the questions of the Free Party fraction members about the reasonability of the move.

Karis added that the decision to move a school or another agency to a different location should depend on whether or not the move would improve its performance. “In the given case – would the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences start giving its students better and, if necessary, more international education; will more and increasingly better-suited students want to start studying at the Academy because of its location in Narva and will it become more attractive to the best teachers; will the better education of employees help the state to achieve a higher level of internal security; will the state be able to afford maintaining the Academy now and in the future, and so on,” said Karis.

He added that he’s been observing for years how ideas that haven’t been properly thought through find their way to the plans written during the melee of government formation and the preparation of coalition agreements “Moving the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to Ida-Viru County seems to be one of these ideas,” said the Auditor General. “However, some people or groups seem to be obsessed with the idea to such an extent that they’ve become completely incapable of listening to reason, which is why this topic keeps popping up time and again. I do sincerely hope that when the Government starts making broader decisions about the Academy, it will realise that in addition to political arguments, there are many others that shouldn’t be discarded.”

The National Audit Office has sent the Government several letters about the Estonian Public Service Academy, which pointed out the risks to the quality of education and the damage that may be caused to the state.

The Auditor General concluded that the risk of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences not being able to continue operating as an innovative and internationally recognised centre of education, research and development after the forced move to Narva is very high. “We risk losing the Academy’s highly qualified teaching staff, which would seriously damage the possibilities of the agencies that defend Estonia’s internal security to find well trained staff in the future.” Surveys indicate that the majority of the teaching staff would not be interested in keeping their positions at the Academy should it be moved to Ida-Viru County. The majority of students also said that they would not have started studying at the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences had it been located in Narva. “Attracting people to the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences is already difficult, so making the situation worse would be extremely irresponsible,” said Karis. The Auditor General concluded that establishing a training base and in-service training centre of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences in Narva would comply with the principles of the State Assets Act and the higher education strategy, because it makes it possible to guarantee quality education in Tallinn.

In the opinion of the Auditor General, the focus in matters concerning the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences should be on the preservation and improvement of the level of higher education and the development of research, and finding new opportunities for professional cooperation with national and international partners. The opportunities offered by the Narva College of the University of Tartu and Virumaa College, which unlike the Academy have a local character and local students, should be used for the development of Ida-Viru County. Karis invited the listeners to think about ideas that could actually boost economic and cultural life in Ida-Viru County, create jobs in private business and give security to people, and help them find ways of using their skills and knowledge in the region where they live. The state should seriously try to find ways of creating the conditions that would lead to comprehensive changes in the economic structure of Ida-Viru County and promote the appearance of new industries that offer employment opportunities in the region.

The full text of the response to the questions (in Estonian) is available on the website of the National Audit Office at http://www.riigikontroll.ee/Riigikontrol%C3%B6r/K%C3%B5nedjaesinemised/Arup%C3%A4rimistelevastamised/tabid/298/887GetPage/1/887Year/-1/ItemId/953/amid/887/language/et-EE/Default.aspx.

Toomas Mattson
Communication Manager of the National Audit Office
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  • Posted: 3/13/2017 5:48 PM
  • Last Update: 3/20/2017 12:21 PM
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