Welcome welcome from the University Chancellor

The University Chancellor agrees with SFS's requirement that the system for allocating resources to higher education must be modernized. It is a welcome message that inspires hope. The political parties are now required to take courage and appoint a broad parliamentary inquiry into the future of the university. It's time for a college commission!

Today we blog for the first time as SFS newcomers presidium - a wonderful feeling! Even better is the reason for the post. When we opened the magazine last Monday, we were met by the same newly appointed university chancellor Harriet Wallberg's debate post. She demands what SFS has long emphasized the need for: a long-term, cross-bloc agreement on financing and regulation of higher education and immediate, long-term grant increases. Everything to be able to maintain and maintain our knowledge society. We could not have received a better welcome to our new assignments!

SFS wants to praise that the Chancellor agrees with the view that should be obvious: the level of funding must be adapted to the current cost situation. In addition to this, real investments need to be made. When the value of grants for higher education has decreased by 22-43 percent over the past 20 years, when teaching is prioritized in the hunt for research grants, when the grant system itself is based on an outdated view of how higher education is conducted - then it's time to take new steps.

SFS's critique of the impact of funding on the content, pedagogy and usability of education was central already when the 1993 university and college reform was initiated. The investigation resulted in a system with the same funding for comparable educations, which meant an improvement from the old system. Since then, savings, no cost reductions and, above all, the general demand for increased productivity have led to a drastic reduction in the value of appropriations.

But since the 1993 reform, society has changed. In order to continue to be useful for us students, the educations must keep up with developments. It is not just about new content and new fields of knowledge, but above all about how education is conducted. Educational science has made progress, and in some areas there are norms about how teaching should be rejected in favor of a scientific approach to learning. This requires that the financing also develops in step with the pedagogy. Today, the old grants mainly seem to create insufficient and unequal conditions for different educations.

The Chancellor's debate post addresses the serious imbalance between the university's two funding areas, education and research. When the vast majority of university teachers receive an ever smaller share of teaching in their service, the incentives for and opportunities to develop the education decrease. As it is already more sought after and provides more money for research, unilateral investments in research can be harmful to education, just as unilateral educational initiatives risk building educations without a research connection. In order to benefit from an exchange between research and education, the activities must have equal conditions. That is why the question of balance that Harriet Wallberg raises is so important.

Initiating a broad political agreement requires strength, courage and access to a common platform. A consensus on the purpose of higher education that includes many different perspectives is necessary to create the predictability, long-term perspective and stability that the academy so desperately needs. SFS and other actors in the higher education sector should also be part of a constructive debate on what the purpose of education is.  

We want to contribute our perspectives and experiences in the investigation that is needed. If the Higher Education Commission is permeated by a focus on the usefulness of the programs for the student, it guarantees that the reform will benefit society as well as business and culture in part. Only by being useful to the students can the education become valuable to others. Therefore, we continue our work for good conditions for higher education. Now we know we are not alone.


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