Over the past week, the media, conversations and hearts have been filled with compassion and commitment for the millions of people fleeing war and persecution. The Swedish National Union of Students (SFS) agrees with the requirement that Sweden should receive more people who are on the run.
For us in the student movement, it is obvious to always stand up for openness and people's right to security. During SFS 'hundred-year history, there is a long tradition of solidarity that makes us in times like these once again want to express our commitment. There is also great support in the academy as a whole, as can be seen yesterday, for exampletoday's appeal from 222 academics in Svenska Dagbladet.
When the world is ravaged by war and people have to leave their countries to seek refuge elsewhere, Sweden and other countries in Europe must be prepared to receive more refugees. This is a principle that also applies to academia. Our Prime Minister Stefan Löfven often and happily talks about how Sweden should be strengthened as a nation of knowledge. Now is the time to show that the nation of knowledge is not limited by national borders and border controls!
The Swedish university must be open to everyone, even the refugees who are students or would like to study. Higher education can be both a way to get to Sweden that is safer than many others and a path to integration. Once in Sweden, the academy must do more to receive and take care of the people who come here. Work is often talked about as the only way to integrate into Swedish society, but studies and education can fulfill exactly the same function!
Furthermore, there is a long list of measures that must be launched for Sweden and the Swedish university to become more open. Among other things, the requirement for what income students must have to obtain a residence permit must be reduced. It should also be easier for foreign academics to have their qualifications validated in Sweden so that they can work with jobs for which they are qualified. (Feel free to read more about Saco's proposal in this matter!) Another important issue is to ensure that students and doctoral students have more time to stay after their education has ended to try to find a job.
The suggestions are many, but can be summarized very simply. SFS agrees with the votes that have been raised for Sweden to give more people protection. The academy can and should be an opportunity for more people to have a safer life. The knowledge nation Sweden should know no boundaries.