A steering group advising the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has released in March this year a proposal for a new international higher education and research policy for Finland, titled “Better together for a better world”. The policy aims to strengthen Finland’s international appeal and its multicultural scientific and higher education community by 2025. The strategy document sets, amongst others, the goal for all students to have benefited from a mobility period or cultivated international competences. The strategy also shares a vision whereby all Finnish higher education institutions will have defined clear internationalisation objectives and activities by 2020.
The proposal is underpinned by seven action-packages, and those focusing on Higher Education are as follows:
- Establishing High-quality education will be supported by strengthening internationally attractive clusters of competence, alongside the development of a positive ‘country brand' that embraces topics as work-life balance.
- To enhance the global demand and visibility for Finish higher education, marketing of education services should be entrusted to a common operator.
- To facilitate a welcome culture, simplified processes for seeking entry into education and employment should be rolled out, alongside a service pledge to facilitate processes in English.
- The Team Finland Knowledge network will be launched to represent higher education in select countries of interest.
- Expat experts and alumni are to be mobilized to engage in networks.
The group’s strategy proposal was submitted to the Minister of Education and Culture, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, who seemed to broadly endorse it, based on the ensuing ministry press release. In April, the Finnish government decided on allocating a total of EUR 50 million to universities and research institutes between 2018 and 2019, that will be distributed through the Academy of Finland with the aim of implementing a new ‘flagship programme’ that will pool expertise into internationally-excellent research clusters. This new flagship programme is linked to the proposal of the steering group. The government has also decided to establish the “Team Finland Knowledge Network” that is to strengthen the nation’s presence in important partner countries. In the pipeline is also the “Talent Boost Programme”, which is meant to attract skilled immigrants.
Better Together for a Better World. Policies to promote internationalisation in Finnish higher education and research 2017–2025 – Full Strategy