The connection between research and education makes the university

21.3.2017

Bulletin. Published 17.03.2017 at 09:37 a.m.

Professors and Researchers

 

The Finnish Union of University Professors with the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers support the Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen’s willingness to further openness in the preparation of the vision regarding higher education and the future of research. The Ministry of Education and Culture is organizing a launch seminar today while maintaining a web-based think tank on the issue during March. The higher education staff, the students and the central stakeholders have all been invited to participate in the vision work.

-    In Finland, we need a strong consensus on how to develop the higher education institutions and research on the long run. Otherwise, we may face a situation where the national resources are not being used in the best possible way. The universities are unique expert organizations, where the professors and other personnel should be able to influence the decision-making, states the Chair of the Finnish Union of University Professors, Kaarle Hämeri.

Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers and the Finnish Union of University Professors set a year ago, in April, a vision: The University for Finland’s Benefit. The unions stress the preservation of the connection of research and teaching in all universities. Additionally, the unions declare that the universities and universities of applied sciences must also in the future maintain separate decree structures. The higher education institutions must also take care of their unique educational duties while developing co-operation.

-    We need a widely-recognized, quality higher education system, where the profiling and the cropping of possible overlaps should be done by trusting the university community’s expertise. There is readiness for change in the personnel, but executing it by mechanical criteria alone does not create commitment. That, which from far may look like overlapping, may in fact be versatile, supportive know-how, and an externally small subject may in fact be effectively networked, declares the Chair of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers, Petri Koikkalainen.

The Ministry of Education and Culture is preparing a change in an article of the Universities Act regarding the arrangements of teaching. The Finnish Union of University Professors and the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers declare that university-teaching cannot be outsourced to universities of applied sciences. Furthermore, the unions are wondering, why the drafting of the law cannot wait for the results of the vision work being launched presently.  

Concerning research, the unions emphasize that the development of science must be drawn from the questions and problems created within the science itself.

-    Developing new devices and instruments drawing from political and administrative needs, the attention in the universities may focus too much on the needs of the national funder and assessor than the development of the science itself. This does not necessarily raise the international level of the research, but rather may lower it, points out Chair Petri Koikkalainen. ​

-    Finland’s success requires a culture relying on strong basic research. Investments in basic research guarantee the involvement in the international science community and create breeding grounds for future innovations, adds Chair Kaarle Hämeri.

The Research and Innovation Council, led by the Prime Minister, is contemplating, on its part, an innovation and research political vision. It would be appropriate if this work had a connection to the vision of Higher Education and Research 2030.


For further information:

Chair Kaarle Hämeri (Finnish Union of University Professors), 040 568 4487;
Chair Petri Koikkalainen (Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers), 050 544 7442;
Executive Director Tarja Niemelä (Finnish Union of University Professors), 050 3402 725;
Executive Director Eeva Rantala (Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers), 040 7508 284  

The Higher Education and Research 2030 Vision’s launch seminar may be watched streamed at:
http://prospectumlive.com/event/okm_20170317