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Perpetual fall in international students to Sweden start worrying some businesses
Friday, 22 March 2013
The reduced number of foreign students at or vying to study at
Swedish universities can cause long terms problems for Swedish
companies and other research related academic programs that need the
mix of various skill input. As international students shy away from
Sweden, could it be blamed only on the institution of tuition fees?
Tomas Qvist head of human resource of the Swedish telecoms giant,
Ericsson in Sweden has stressed the need for the authorities to do more
to encourage international students to study in Sweden. He made his
mind clear on radio Sweden on Friday.
He pointed that the effects of reduced number of international students
to Sweden means that Sweden looses out on the mix of what the
international environment would look like as Sweden goes out to look
for market for its products. Also these student come in rich with
knowledge which can be transferred to Sweden especially in areas where
Sweden lacks skills.
"We depend on these talents, like many other companies. We see that as
the range of people who are studying at the technical colleges go
down, we have concern for the future where we will find it hard
to get the talents for our continued engineering development," he said
to radio Sweden.
In the autumn of 201l, Sweden introduced tuition fees for foreign
students from outside the EU, who wanted to study at Swedish
universities. Immediately, Sweden lost almost 80 percent of these
students. Last fall, they were less than 2 000 international student
studying in the country's universities.
This is not the first time companies have cried out about the effect of
making it hard to attract international students to Swedish
universities. Even some Swedish students feel that studying in a school
with few students from other parts of the world make their studies less
challenging and the environment less interesting. Student union
activities or debates which are all dominated by Swedish case studies
does not reflect what happens in the international business environment
where Sweden which relies on exports has to master. This knowledge
comes from international students who bring new perspectives and
approaches as well as their cultures to enrich Swedish exporters
and businesses at home.
It should also be pointed out that these students also consume lots of
products in Sweden then contributing to the spending in the Swedish
shops and the GDP.
However, there are those who feel that implementing tuition fees was a
wonderful idea. Magnus Henrekson who is president of the Institute for
Industrial Economics research thinks it is logical that Sweden should
charge fees for students who want to study in Sweden.
"For a number of years now Sweden has received students from India and
Russia... They have been good, very driven and love to have stayed here
and had seen a better future than returning to their home countries,"
he said, and continues "it has been a good recruiting base for Ericsson
and other companies. Meanwhile, it is also logical to start charging
for students coming from outside the EU. It is a dilemma that we do not
know the solution for real."
Magnus Henrekson continues that the old system in which Sweden allow
international student to come and study here free other than its own
citizens, was not sustainable.
But Tomas Qvist is concerned. Although Ericsson now is laying off more
workers in Sweden rather recruiting, the company in the long run will
need to count on the ability to recruit good engineers. and these good
engineers come from universities where there are a mix of Swedish and
There has been talks of scholarship for non - EU students but that does
not seem to have attracted interest. The fees are very high and there
are actually fewer practical operational opportunities in Sweden where
student can study, and works and gain more experience from companies
while also interacting with the Swedish people.
In addition, the rise of the far rights politics in Sweden and its
growing strength in the Swedish society and the coldness of the Swedish
people toward immigrants, especially those of different skin and hair
colour could be another deterrent. One reason why international
education in the UK for example is so worth the money is that, among
all, the tolerance and the acceptance of the British people of people
of other races. The country also has a very strong race relations and
any racial abuses considered in Sweden as jokes are taken in Britain
very seriously. This gives comfort and protection to the non-whites
For now, Norway and Finland are benefiting from the students who are not going to Sweden.
by Scancomark.com Team