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.

No comments: