A record number of students today will receive their admission letter to universities and colleges this autumn. At the same time, Sweden has the lowest number of teacher-led hours in higher education throughout Europe and the appropriations are eroded every year. In order to fulfill the ambition of being a nation of knowledge, change must take place; students deserve quality and quality costs writes Swedish National Union of Students.
Today, hundreds of thousands of people around Sweden receive their admission letter to colleges and universities for the autumn semester. In the spring when the admission closed, 419 people had applied for the autumn semester 000, which is three percent more than the then record high number of registered in the autumn of 2021. As representatives of students, we are positive that more people choose to study at higher education, but in our work we see also the other side. Lack of pedagogy, teachers who do not have time and grants that decrease every year.
Today, Sweden is the country in Europe with the lowest number of teacher-led hours in higher education. Higher education pedagogy is not a high priority, but instead research skills are highlighted. At the same time, there is great pressure on the teachers who are active at colleges and universities. The Swedish University Teachers' Association (SULF) has in one survey of its members examined their working conditions. As many as 70% state that they worked overtime in 2020, sometimes as much as 20 hours per week. 8 out of 10 also state that they do not receive any compensation for overtime and it also appears that there is an attitude that it is expected to work overtime. This is not a sustainable situation.
Funding for higher education suffers from system failures. The grants are not based on the actual costs of educating students and over time, grant increases have not corresponded to the cost increases. Since the current funding system for higher education was introduced in the early 1990s, the universities' grants have not kept pace with the cost increase. At the same time, the student group is larger than ever. An accessible education throughout the country and that everyone should have the opportunity to study further has been a stated goal from governing politicians.
SFS is positive about the broadening of recruitment to higher education, but it must be met with resources. A larger group of students means that more people enter the education with varying conditions. This is further actualized by the fact that the cohort that is now applying for higher education has completed half of their upper secondary school years during the corona pandemic with a schooling affected by adjustment. All students have the right to qualitative and pedagogical education. The challenges are greater but too little is done to meet them.
Sweden needs a government that realizes that quality costs. It is not increased governance or more training places that will increase the quality of training in higher education. It is by putting the students at the center. We want to see an investment in higher education pedagogy and a halt to the underfunding of higher education.
Regardless of who leads the next government, it must ensure that all Sweden's students receive the quality education they deserve.