The preparation of the new legislation on higher education institutions needs a time-out

17.10.2017

BULLETIN OCTOBER 12, 2017

free for an immediate release

 

The Finnish Union of University Professors and The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers both think that the preparation of the new legislation on Higher Education Institutions combining both the Universities Act and the Universities of Applied Sciences Act needs a time-out. There is no reason to launch a legislative undertaking as large as this in a hurry.

The amendment proposal to the Universities Act that came into effect in the beginning 2010 is currently under a parliamentary committee reading. This amendment would expand the teaching cooperation between the universities and the universities of applied sciences. The representatives of both unions were heard by the Education and Culture Committee on October 6, 2017.

The already extensive cooperation between the universities and the universities of applied sciences is possible even in the current legislation, and will continue to get easier after the amendment currently under parliamentary reading. The Unions both wonder and cannot understand the fervent hurry to initiate an entirely new legislation on higher education institutions.

The Finnish Union of University Professors and The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers both think that we should wait to see how the cooperation between the universities and the universities of applied sciences goes. Additionally, we should look at what the Vison for Higher Education and Research 2030 prepared under the direction of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s entails. The Vision should come out this month.    

– The Ministry of Education and Culture wanted to involve the university personnel in the vision work. The personnel did not know participating in the web-based think tank or the workshops that the result would be a new legislation for higher education institutions. The feedback could have been very different had this been known.

The vision work has had grand objectives: increasing the number of people with higher education degrees, upgrading the level of the Finnish know-how, and the getting the GNP-part of the research and development activity into 4 per cent. According to the Unions, these objectives cannot be reached through new paragraphs, but rather through extra input in research and university teaching. In their statement regarding the Budget, the Unions, among other things, seek the cancellation of the freezing of the University Index.

The universities and the universities of applied sciences both have their own missions and roles to fulfill. The Finnish Union of University Professors and The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers think that these should not be blurred. The professor’s tasks have been defined in the Universities Act. Furthermore, only the universities have the right to grant a doctorate. If there is to be a new legislation for higher education institutions, these should remain in paragraphs pertaining to the universities only. The universities of applied sciences have their own distinct strong-points.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Chair Petri Koikkalainen (The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers), 050 544 7442;

Vice chair Jouni Kivistö-Rahnasto (The Finnish Union of University Professors), 040 565 4676;

Executive Director Johanna Moisio (The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers), 0400 874 135;

Executive Director Tarja Niemelä (The Finnish Union of University Professors), 050 340 2725