The Swedish government wants to privatise its Universities and some people are not happy.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
The Swedish government's proposal to make the country's state
universities and colleges to become private foundations, is worrying to
the both the country's unions and student unions.
Both the access and the quality of education are likely to be
challenged if the Swedish universities are transformed into becoming
foundations. This would mean the Universities go more into the private
sectors to seek including funding, endorsements, and various forms of
This development is worrying on grounds that hat doing it this way
while maintaining maintain the same transparency and university
independence in areas of research shall feared to be compromised,
according to Britta Lejon head of the union ST .
Chalmers University Img.Granscole/file
Erik Arroy, chairman of the Swedish Union of Students spoke to
Swedish television and radio Sweden expressing his concern about the
evolution of the Swedish institution of academic higher learning.
"With the state not providing the same protection and only through
legislation, so we'll not have the same guarantee of legal certainty
and assurance for quality for all students," he says.
Today, all universities, and colleges, are government agencies.
According to the government, it is a problem when, for example, some of
them want to conduct businesses abroad.
Therefore, the education minister, Jan Björklund has submitted a
proposal for universities to become private foundations, and thus
have greater freedom for such actions. Meanwhile, they will
continue to be funded by the state, with the requirement that the money
is used efficiently and effectively.
Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and Jönköping
University are run today as foundations. Even in the new private
foundations proposal, legal rights of students are guaranteed,
according to the proposal. That formulation however does not
soothe Erik Arroy of Swedish National Union of Students.
"We've heard it expressed, for example that student participation in
general will remain unchanged under this proposal. That we will not
accept. We want that student influence should be just the same when it
move to private foundations," he says.
However, Education Minister, Jan Björklund held a news conference
yesterday and insisted that university foundations should not be
able to make any major rule differently from how it is today.
"The idea is that, students' rights will be the same as for the state
universities today as could be seen with schools such as Chalmers and
Jönköping University," he said.
But Britta Lejon, president of the union ST sees several problems with
the proposal. She questions the issue of the students legal rights, as
well as warns that it risks becoming less transparent in what
universities do, and that the potential for independent research will
"An idea of this proposal is that private universities will receive
donations and other forms of funding from the companies. Doing it while
maintaining the same transparency and independence of research shall
remain questionable," she said.
Examples are seen in the UK where the credibility of the London
Business School was dented when it was revealed that donations from
dictators such as the late Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi was
received. This also raised the question of the PhD degree awarded his
son who studied there.
In addition, many such derivations of research and influences could be
seen in various privately owned American universities where bias
researches, such as those related to racial profiling, immigration and
women's rights have been carried out to favour a radical right wing
In most cases, the forces behind these researches are powerful
financial organisations or individuals who want to use academics to
cement their radical thoughts.
By Scancomark.com Team