Ambitious Finland looks to double overseas intake

November 16, 2001

Finland's universities and polytechnics should adopt a more international outlook and double their numbers of foreign students by 2010, a committee has recommended.

The committee was appointed by the education ministry to assess the competitiveness of Finnish higher education in the international market. It hopes that by 2010 Finland will play an influential part in European education and research through its internationally oriented higher education community.

The committee says this can be achieved only if the number of foreign students is increased from the present 6,000 to some 15,000 and the number of exchange students doubled to 28,000.

In addition, the proportion of postgraduate students should be at least 15 per cent and the number of foreign teachers, researchers and experts should be at least twice current levels.

The committee also says that higher education institutes, including polytechnics, need to develop their credit systems in a way that would make them more comparable internationally, primarily by applying the European Credit Transfer System.

Although the lowest academic degree, the kandidaatintutkinto , has been abolished, the committee calls for its reinstatement and for an update of the degree structure to follow the 3-2-4 model - whereby the kandidaatintutkinto would take three years to complete, the masters degree another two and the postgraduate research degrees four years.

The committee calls for an increase in the 300 English courses run by Finnish higher education institutes to attract more foreign students.

It also suggests that foreign nationals who have a degree from a Finnish university or a polytechnic should be allowed to live and work in Finland even if they are not European Union nationals.

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