HEIs Institutional Autonomy

Universities and colleges have great freedom to design their internal organization in the way that best suits each university's conditions and needs. They are also responsible for employment. The higher education institutions are also largely responsible for the educational offer they offer. 

The current system stems largely from the so-called “autonomy reform” that was implemented in 2010. According to the then government, the reform entailed “far-reaching deregulation in terms of organization, teacher employment and education. In addition to what applies to the board and the rector, it is proposed that a higher education institution be allowed to decide its own internal organization. ” The idea was to get away from an overly strong detailed rule.

In addition to organizational freedom, individual researchers also have freedoms. The freedom of research is protected by Sweden's constitution, and further provisions are found in the Higher Education Act. 

For research, the general principles shall be that:

1. research problems may be freely chosen;
2. research methods may be freely developed and
3. research results may be freely published

Higher education does not have the same protection, but in the spring the government sent out a proposal for a change in the law that would also strengthen the freedom of education in law if it was implemented.

The academy's role in society entails a great deal of social responsibility and there are great expectations of what universities and colleges will contribute to society. At the same time, academia is an important force for knowledge development and democracy, one that is disadvantaged by an overly strong political influence. 

In order for the academy to be able to take its responsibility, SFS believes that the academy's freedom is a basic precondition. Thus, from a long-term perspective, it is important that neither politics nor the market encroach on academic freedom.