Before most higher-education institutions even had time to submit their comments on the proposal regarding higher-education foundations, minister of education Jan Björklund is making a move, saying that the ministry intends to investigate the matter more before making a decision. This move was unexpected, and the timing is a surprise – not that there was not considerable criticism but because it came before the sector had had a chance to take a formal stand. In some sense it is admirable that they are perceptive to critical signals, but this is not making an already shaky process feel any more stable.
It is a good thing that the autonomy issue as such is moving forward. Uppsala University has previously made it known that it would favour more independence. The issue is important for the future, both for practical reasons and as a matter of principle. We welcome a restart, but one with a broader point of departure in order to try out more ways to find the most suitable organisational model for the future. Furthermore, broader political anchorage is needed, along with a constructive dialogue with the higher-education sector in the next round.
Ahead of a continuation of the autonomy process, we at Uppsala University should take the opportunity to engage in a thorough discussion of how we view our own internal governance. How can we ensure a long-term model where we can successfully combine collegiality and student influence with strong academic leadership?