The expert panel on financing of higher education
The Student Parliament at UiO passed a resolution on the 5th of february about the report from the expert panel on financing of higher education.
The ministry of knowledge received on the 7th of January the report entitled "Funding for quality, diversity and teamwork: New financing model for universities and colleges." The report contains several proposals that could have a major impact on the University of Oslo and students. It is therefore important that the Student Parliament takes a position on the proposals that have come from this committee.
The Student Parliament is primarily satisfied with the report. The proposed "development, quality and profile" agreement as part of the basic allocation we believe is an interesting idea. For these agreements to work it is important that the Ministry of Education and universities have a clear and shared idea of what one believes that constitutes quality in education. To develop good indicators for educational quality is thus essential for the agreements to work. There is a possibility that the agreements could add limitations on how the university governs itself and thus limit institutional autonomy. It can also lead to more paperwork and bureaucracy if the framework for agreements is too rigid. It is therefore important that the process by entering into such agreements emphasize institutions achieving goals set by the institutions themselves. It is also essential that students' interests are safeguarded and students must therefore be actively involved in the elaboration of such agreements.
The idea of awarding internationalization in the way the report suggests is a brilliant idea. The report received by UiO from the Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) last year has stressed that the University must become more outward and international. University also has big ambitions for internationalization and prizes for internationalization will be a welcome contribution to this work. Students believe an international environment on campus and the opportunity to exchange to other educational institutions abroad with other disciplines and academic traditions than those we find at home is essential to strengthen the quality of education.
The Student Parliament is however skeptical to the idea of awarding the students who finish their degrees on time. Norwegian students do not have enough money to work full time on their studies. Rather than attempting to push students through study programs on time while they are working part-time jobs the government should put all resources to realize equal opportunity to be a full time student for everyone. There is also a danger that a reward of completing the prescribed time provides an incentive for institutions focusing on degrees that are easy to push students through. If a student realizes that he or she has started on what they believe is the wrong program for them they should be able to switch to another program where they will thrive and perform better.
Student Parliament is critical to increase the number of publication points for publications with multiple authors. We believe this can create adverse incentives in a financing system that has already readily manipulable indicators.