The autonomy of universities will increase

Universities will become institutions under public law.

The autonomy of universities will increase The report submitted to Minister of Education Antti Kalliomäki proposes that universities be recognised as an institution under public law. This would allow them to enter into contracts and acquire property in their own right and they would no longer be accounting offices under the Government’s budget economy.

The reviewers feel that this change would significantly improve collaboration between universities and particularly between universities and private organisations, both in Finland and internationally.

“The Finnish Council of University Rectors considers the definition of universities' position to be of the utmost importance. The report makes a practical proposal for taking the issue in the right direction,” says Rector Ilkka Niiniluoto.

Furthermore, the report proposes that the government administration would regulate degree education and decide on structural development and funding.

Universities would receive state funding based on special provisions in the Universities Act. According to Niiniluoto, it would be crucial to clearly define those criteria upon which the allocation of basic funding is based.

The report also proposes that posts and tenures come under labour contract legislation instead of civil service regulations. This would not, however, mean any deterioration in pension or other benefits.

“The proposal follows the university reform that was implemented in Austria a few years ago. We should consider the details of that model,” Niiniluoto says.

According to the proposal, university administration would comprise a Board of Directors, a University Senate and executive management, and rectors’ authority would be strengthened.

The report on the review is available in Finnish with an English abstract and summary on the Ministry of Education website.

Text: Niina Viitanen
Photo: Liisa Parviainen

Translation: Valtasana Oy

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