The World Customs Organization has approved the renewed international standards for the customs profession, prepared with the participation of the International Business and Customs Institute (SESMI) of the Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management of Riga Technical University (RTU). The World Customs Organization (WCO) has expressed gratitude for the renewal of standards.

The Standards were approved at the WCO Capacity Building Committee session in Brussels which was held from 8 to 10 April. The new improved regulations for the recognition of higher education institutions’ study programs as compliant with the WCO standards and for issuing the corresponding certificate of compliance from the WCO were also approved.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission, RTU Honorary Doctor, opened the annual Capacity Building Committee session in Brussels. He emphasized the rapid changes currently taking place in the customs administrations worldwide, the increasing complexity of customs work, which is affected by cross-border e-commerce and rapid technological development. The Institute also participates in the European Commission’s Board for the recognition of bachelor and master level customs programs in the European Union. While participating in the BOMCA-9 International Border Management Project, which is financed by the European Commission, SESMI is engaged in developing customs education in five Central Asian countries. With the involvement of SESMI experts, the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University has revised the Customs Program according to the requirements of the WCO. The higher education institution of Kazakhstan received a WCO accreditation certificate a few days ago.

SESMI Director Aivars Vilnis Krastiņš emphasizes the important role of the Institute in the development of customs education at international level: «We are involved in the development of the rules of the game for customs all over the world».

RTU is the only institution in Latvia with an internationally accredited study program «Customs and Tax Administration», where students can obtain higher education in the field of customs and taxation. The unique study program was developed in cooperation with the WCO and the tax and customs authorities of the State Revenue Service (SRS) of Latvia. It is the first globally recognized Customs and Tax Administration program that has received a WCO certificate for compliance with these standards.

This year, customs education in Latvia has the 25the anniversary. The International Business and Customs Institute of the Faculty of Economic Engineering and Management of RTU has been training customs officers since 1994 and tax specialists since 2004. The Latvian Customs Administration, in turn, celebrates its centenary this year.

RTU rector together with scientists from 13 EU countries agrees on the European science and research development guidelines

Rector of Riga Technical University (RTU), Academician Leonīds Ribickis together with 38 scientists from 13 European Union (EU) Member States has signed a joint communiqué, which expresses the commitment to make the EU the world’s strongest community and a leader in the field of education, research, innovation, quality and ethical standards by 2050.

Communiqué includes EU development issues and the role of scientists in it. The document states that the EU future decisions shall be based on evidence, and scientists shall make an effort to be able to provide precisely targeted advice timely as well as improve their performance in science communication, so that their accomplishments would be an integral part of decision-making process. A specific emphasis is placed on the need to focus on a unified and consistent EU development, bridging the gaps between Eastern and Western, Northern and Southern EU Member States, as well as on the promotion of their closer cooperation.

The document defines «European higher education, science and innovation culture» and highlights that its foundation is critical thinking, which should be developed and promoted throughout the life-long learning cycle – from primary to further education. However, excellence should unchangeably remain the main criterion of education, science and innovation field. Communiqué emphasizes the need to promote inclusiveness, develop joint research projects and implement exchange projects for researchers in such a way as to prevent the brain drain in the Northern and Western direction.

Communiqué afterword states, «Success in European education, research and innovation field cannot be gained without academic autonomy and freedom of research and ideas».