Finns plan overhaul of funding

March 29, 2002

Finland is considering an overhaul of the way polytechnics are funded, with a shift away from student numbers as the sole criterion.

A working group has proposed that only 61 per cent of the funding should depend on student numbers, with the number of completed degrees and the level of research and development accounting for 35 per cent. The remaining 4 per cent would be allocated to polytechnics as a lump sum to cover running costs.

Juha Arhinmaki, head of the polytechnics unit at the ministry of education, said that the purpose was to encourage polytechnics to become more results-oriented.

Although most members of the working group supported the proposal, representatives of the Association of Finnish Municipalities argued that funding should be looked at as part of the restructuring of state sponsorship in higher education.

The proposed criteria suggest a link between the number of lecturers, research and development activities, and the amount of funding. The municipalities are concerned that it would be hard to attract additional staff once the minimum number of lecturers has been met.

If the proposals get the go-ahead, a bill will go before parliament in autumn, with a view to implementing the legislation in 2004.

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