Rethinking Nordic Co-operation in Higher Education

National and Institutional Case Studies

image of Rethinking Nordic Co-operation in Higher Education

This report contains the empirical data and case descriptions of a study on internationalisation in higher education in the Nordic countries. A special emphasis is made on the Nordic dimension in international co-operation. Nine higher education institutions in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland make up the basis of the study. Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the aims of the study have been to analyze how academic goals of higher education institutions in general and their internationalisation strategies in particular, are influenced by the growing “economization” and “marketization”. It also focuses on the factors that currently stimulate or hamper Nordic cooperation. Policy recommendations for further strengthening the Nordic cooperation in higher education are to be found in a separate report called “Rethinking Nordic Cooperation in Higher Education - Internationalization of Higher Education Institutions in Northern Europe in the Light of Bologna” (TemaNord 2005:520).




Norway is currently going through a rather extensive higher education reform, in which many of the structural changes are being linked to international processes, such as the Bologna Process. The reform has been named “The Quality Reform”, reflecting the overall aim of making Norway a nation of world-renowned research and higher education. Important documents in this process has been the Mjøs commissions report on higher education that was published in 2000, “Freedom with responsibility” (NOU 2000: 14) and the white paper that followed it “Do you your duty, demand your rights”, creating the foundation for the reform. Do your duty − Demand your rights is a comprehensive reform that affects major aspects of higher education institutions, national agencies in higher education, and the student body. The reform initiatives pertain to the status of institutions and institutional funding models, institutional governance, modes of teaching and learning, student support, as well as the degree structure. Both documents dealt specifically with internationalisation. Internationalisation is seen to have been rather low on the institutional agenda, having been treated as a matter of course, but not been dealt with strategically by most institutions. One of the many aims of the reform is to change this.


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