Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The date is set

And it is the 24th of May 2010. I know, that's next year. But let's not dwell upon that. I should hand in the first finished chapters after Epiphany. Now I'm trying to decide which ones would be even remotely possible - they are all in various stages of "unfinished", so preferably I should choose two which require the least amount of work to metamorphose into "finished".

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scientia victrix

I know I've been ranting about this subject before, but the recent news regarding universities, both in media and in the internal communications of my precious alma mater, give no reason to optimism.

The raising of private funds required by the new university legislation lags behind the timetable, the government is effectively cutting the income of University of Helsinki by millions of euros by revoking University Pharmacy's exemption from taxes and the financial situation at the departments is so dire that for example the Department of Classics has cancel to all the tuition given by other than permanent personnel for the spring semester.

In this situation it is tragicomic (although I confess finding it hard to see the comic side) that at the same time there is official worry about the state of research* and the duration of studies. As usual, the goverment is about to handle the last problem by applying the stick to the undergraduates, rather than trying the carrot.

Equal opportunities and investment in higher education rapidly changed Finland from an agrarian developing country into a rich, northern welfare state after the second world war. Some argue that the welfare state is already gone, and it seems to me that the importance of education and research for the nation is only a dead phrase, that nobody remembers the true meaning of.

*The Academy of Finland has in a recent survey found out that the standard of research done in Finland has dropped. As one of the major reasons for this the Academy pinpointed the lack of funding for basic research.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Progress report II

I have started a number of posts on topical issues but not found the time to finish them in time, i.e. whatever I've been intending to comment on is long past before I'd manage to finish the post.

Nothing new. It seems the more work I do with the dissertation, the more there is still to be done. Lately I've been so stressed out that I don't sleep at night because of thinking of various things I should get done, including the big D of course. A somewhat useless state of affairs, since as a result I am too tired to do any thinking during the day.