The chairs of all students’ unions at Uppsala University have written an opinion piece headed “The government must save higher education”, published today in the Uppsala newspaper UNT. In it, they take up the erosion of resources that has occurred in recent decades. They object to the fact that the government only addresses research policy in its upcoming research bill and does not even mention higher education. They are quite right. Education is both an integral part of successful research and a prerequisite for the continued supply of new researchers. It is high time to turn the spotlight on the needs of education, preferably in a separate education bill focusing on quality and on the needs of society and research.
The demands the students put forward are absolutely legitimate: stop the erosion of the ‘price tags’ (the allowance per student that higher education institutions receive), scrap the productivity deduction (it’s not possible to learn more quickly now than in the 1990s) and revise the model for calculating the price tags.
One of the proposals we make in our input to the research bill is that 75 per cent of the erosion should be restored over the next four years to ensure the quality of education. To ensure renewal and regeneration, more unrestricted places are needed, in addition to places earmarked for specific educational programmes. It is also important to protect the freedom of education by law, just as research now enjoys constitutional protection. At a time of political uncertainty, it is vital to guarantee the independence of the universities.