Institutions of higher education cooperate on internationalisation

UH relies on quality and services.

ministeri Sarkomaa Internationalisation is a central part of the current structural development of Finnish higher education institutions. A national strategy for internationalisation of higher education will be created during 2008. The strategy will be prepared by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with institutions of higher education and stakeholders.

During a kick-off seminar held in Helsinki on 27 February, Minister of Education and Science Sari Sarkomaa indicated that the current low level of internationalisation at secondary schools is a key challenge. In terms of migration of highly educated populations, Finland is a net loss nation.

The goal is to develop an internationally strong and attractive scientific and higher-education community in Finland. In the future, internationalisation will affect all parties in the higher education sector.

“We want to create an exciting and rewarding environment for education and research for all members of the higher education community,” says Sarkomaa.

Internationalisation is strong focus in the University of Helsinki’s activities and the experience gained there is sure to be of use in the creation of a national strategy.

“We have ambitious goals to increase the number of international students and staff, and we have made progress in this arena. Recruitment of foreign personnel will become a permanent part of normal operations. By developing the international master’s degree programs and increasing the flexibility of admissions we will attract more students,” says Vice-Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson.

So a low level of internationalisation is a challenge for Finnish institutions of higher education; what are the strengths of the University of Helsinki?

“What’s crucial is that the people applying here are looking for quality, and we are one of Europe’s leading research universities. We also have functioning international services. In addition, we are participating in the Helsinki Education and Research Area (HERA) initiative with other institutions of higher education and cities to increase the attractiveness of Helsinki for foreigners and make it an appealing metropolis,” Wilhelmsson concludes.

Text and Photo: Tapani Sainio

Translation: Valtasana Oy

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