Visitors from veterinary universities in Obihiro and Hokkaido visited the University’s veterinarians

A seven-person delegation of leadership and management staff from the veterinary units of the universities of Obihiro and Hokkaido visited the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine between 14 and 15 September. The purpose of the visit was to survey the accreditation requirements for European veterinary degree programmes as well as to discuss the content of the education and how it is carried out.

Dean Antti Sukura and Vice-Dean Mirja Ruohoniemi from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine served as hosts to the Japanese guests.

– The University of Helsinki’s degree programme in veterinary medicine is internationally lauded and is the first European degree programme to be accredited by the European Committee on Veterinary Education. After the accreditation in 2009, we have been visited by representatives of many different educational institutions in Europe and Asia to find out more about our degree programme, explains Dean Sukura.

– The Hokkaido University Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine is based in Sapporo, where the focus is on small animal medicine, while Obihiro has more production animals. These institutions have worked on their strengths by building a joint degree programme, VetNorth Japan, explains Vice-Dean Ruohoniemi.

The long-term goal for VetNorth Japan is to acquire accreditation of compliance with European veterinary education. Many esteemed experts from the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) have been consulted in the development of the VetNorth Japan programme. The visitors to Helsinki heard about the general instructions of the European accreditation system, the way that the self-evaluation report should be written and the organisation of the evaluation visit.

– The University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was carefully selected as the destination for this visit, not just because its degree programme has been accredited, but also because it shares many similarities with the Japanese programme in terms of both scope and objectives, states Dean Sukura.  

The days of the visit were busy with intense discussions, and the differences between the cultures provided novel perspectives on everyday issues. According to Professor Keiko Kawamoto, the visit gave the delegation concrete help with drafting the self-evaluation report, and the intention is to continue the cooperation later in the autumn after this positive start.  


Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine

Hokkaido University Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine