The new law on higher education was adopted in December 2004. The law is aimed at ensuring compliance of higher education system with western (European) systems, creating new mechanisms of quality control, as the main precondition for renewal of the content and for achieving higher standards in education. Higher education system consists of three-cycle (bachelor, master and doctoral). Education levels passed by the students and academic degrees received are compatible with the Bologna process requirements. Students interested in acquiring practical skills and employment are offered higher professional education programs, upon completion of which they will receive qualification of a certified specialist.
According to the current legislation, higher education is on the principles of democracy, transparency and equal opportunities. Legislation has also granted full autonomy to Higher Education Institutions. To ensure autonomy of higher education institutions governance functions had been shared within higher education institutions through new structures with elected members, such as Academic Council, that makes decision concerning education and research, Council of representatives who deal with administrative and financial issues, students’ self-governance which comprises 30% of Council of Representatives. Faculty Council elects the dean, Academic Council elects the Rector.The State takes the responsibility to provide control of education quality. It is guaranteed through clearly defined, transparent and objective procedure of accreditation. The State takes the responsibility for the admission of students to the first cycle higher education. Students are admitted at the accredited higher education institutions by passing unified national admission exams. The centralized, objective system of unified national exams ensures the principles of equity and meritocracy and provides opportunities for students to obtain desired professions in preferable HEIs. Students demonstrating the best results at the Unified National Admissions Examinations gain state grants, the rest of students finance their studies from their own sources. Besides, 10 % of state education grants are annually allocated for the needs-based grants program. Those who have not received education grants may apply for students’ loans.