5.1 Quality in higher education

Research-based education is a necessary prerequisite for quality in teaching and for students to be introduced to, and given the opportunity to be involved in, research activities during their studies. Quality in higher education is about good learning conditions for students, and about employees' opportunity to provide good, research-based teaching and guidance.

The National Teacher Survey shows that the teachers experience a significant time pressure, and that not enough time is set aside for teaching and supervision. The transition to digital education has reinforced this picture.

The number of students in higher education increased from just under 260,000 in 2015 to over 290,000 in 2020. Seen in connection with the competence reform's ambition that no one should become outdated, this indicates that the influx to higher education will continue during the period.

About half of the bachelor students complete within the nominal length of study, and 56% of the master's students. There is a need to continue the work for increased quality of education. Good teaching takes place in concrete meetings between people, and through student-active teaching methods and learning environments.

Lifelong learning is becoming an increasingly important part of the mission of universities and colleges. Continuing professional development must be developed with the same requirements for quality and research-based teaching as the ordinary offers, without this being at the expense of the degree educations.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • There are equal rights and access to education and the principle of free education is maintained.
  • Higher education is research-based and academic positions as a main rule are combined, with the right and obligation to engage in both R&D work and teaching.
  • Scientific employees have the time and resources for quality assurance and quality development of their teaching.
  • The institutions facilitate collegial communities, colleague guidance and a culture of cooperation, exchange of experience and learning.
  • The institutions facilitate skills development and professional updating for administrative staff.
  • The institutions have highly qualified and adequately staffed research and administrative
    support functions and technical support structures.
  • Students and staff should have a learning-and-health-promoting working environment with suitable teaching areas, workplaces, library resources, good digital solutions, and necessary

5.2 Funding of higher education

The funding of higher education must ensure research-based teaching, academic breadth, long-term perspective, and stability. This is necessary to build and maintain solid academic environments, and to be able to offer good working conditions. This entails a funding model with strong basic funding and fully funded study places that ensure the institutions a predictable resource situation for the academic programs to be provided.

The institutions have a responsibility not to admit more students than the allocations indicate. Much of the increase in student numbers has come from the institutions admitting students who are only financed through the open results-based calculation, which is about 40% of the standardized student place cost.

An increasing degree of funding through various competitive arenas and grant schemes contributes to increased bureaucratisation, high use of temporary employment and weakens the institutional room for manoeuvre. The introduction of new financial incentives or special measures to stimulate increased quality of education and more flexible educational offerings must be financed with fresh funds.

Research ambitions as well as goals for future-oriented education programs and working methods presuppose appropriate buildings, modern research infrastructure and facilitation for digitization. The large backlog in investments in buildings, research infrastructure, operations, and maintenance, makes it difficult to fully exploit the potential of higher education.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • The basic funding for the universities and colleges is raised in order to ensure employees the necessary time for R&D work, teaching and dissemination.
  • The overall framework allocation is made less result- or competition-based.
  • The institutions' student admissions are in accordance with the actual funding, in order to ensure the quality of education and research.
  • The investment plan for maintenance, operation of buildings and infrastructure is followed by binding appropriations.
  • A study funding that makes it possible for students to study full-time, and which gives those who complete master's and PhD degrees the right to write off part of the student loan.