University of Modern Sciences
When the liberal political parties gained the majority of seats in the Samogitian seimas in 1998 they undertook many reforms intended to transform the economy of Samogitia from the more or less agricultural-based one to technology-based. A part of this program, known as the Samogitian revival, was the "establishment of a university which would prepare specialists of modern sciences, such as computer technology and genetics". An old abandoned factory was aquired by the government of Samogitia in 1999 and the University of Modern Sciences was established in 2000. Its goal was to be
The area where the university buildings exists was designated to be a free scientific zone, similarly to certain areas outside Kaunas. This has attracted foreign research companies to support the establishment of the university and establish their own premises in other free scientific zones.
The concept of free scientific zone, as well as promises by the government of Samogitia of great autonomy, attracted many famous scientists to the university, both from the RTC and abroad. Many of these scientists were personally invited by the newly created Department of Modern Sciences Development of the Government of Samogitia. Usually, scientists in the same field were invited from countries speaking different languages so that lectures would be presented in various languages.
The University of Modern Sciences quickly became a prestigious institution to study at not only for people of Samogitia, but for people from other parts of world as well. With the exception of years 2000 and 2001, every other year foreign students made the majority of students in the university.
After the liberal parties did not gain an absolute majority of seats in the seimas of Samogitia in 2003 it was believed that the University of Modern Sciences could have been turned into a more ordinary learning institution, but this was not the case.
University of Modern Sciences has many differences compared to other universities:
- Structure is different with prominent proffessors having the most power (see section "Structure").
- The lenght of study is very liberal. Typically there are requirements for a student at what subjects he must complete, but even those are changeable. Students may choose lectures on similar subjects in various language, times, and held by various proffessors.
- Having a job in the field is encouraged and finding one (usually in the free scientific zones) is helped by the university. The possibility to choose lectures on different times, ranging from early morning to late evening, permits this.
- Lectors compete against each other in creating study plans and particular subjects as the salary generally depends on the number of students who chooses the lectures of a particular lector (with the exception of some lectures at unpopular times, which might be subsidized by the department or the university as a whole and therefore a multiplier may be used for a lector on a number of students to determine his/her salary - this is done in order to make more oppurtunities for students to choose time of study, and therefore to choose a workplace).
- There are few liberal arts and the concentration is on the field of study, although studying at the same time in other fields considered to be part of the "Modern Sciences" is encouraged.
- The general system of studies is very different from that in other universities. Formal requirements, such as writting various theses are in most cases dropped. The distinction between graduate and postgraduate studies is non-existant.
The university is divided into departments responsible for particular fields of study. Each department is led by a council of the prominent proffesors who were initially invited in 1999-2000 (or later, for the departments that were established later). The first term of these positions is usually 10 years, while the later terms will be 5 years each. The university council consists of members elected from the department councils and representatives of the Government of Samogitia.
The University of Modern Sciences was criticised by various groups of people even before its actual establishment. The common arguements of teh crtics include the following:
- University is largely multilingual, with very few of the prominent proffesors speaking Lithuanian, Vened or any other language of the RTC. The lectures are also presented in various languages, including English, French, German and others. Therefore the university is seen to be harmful for the Lithuanian culture by some.
- The majority of the students are not from RTC.
- The way of establishing the university by calling prominent proffessors and promising them a great freedom and significant influence to the university is criticised as well. The critics claim that the whole system would collapse in case a serious disageement between some proffessors would rise as there is no strong leader nor central authority. As well, there is supposedly no good way to change a proffessor (one of those initially invited) in case he or she would work bad.
- Students has little actual power in influencing the university.
- Uncernaity of future for the university in case the liberals would loose the majority in the seimas of Samogitia.
This page was created by Abdul-aziz.