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).




The Swedish higher educational system consists of approximately 50 universities and colleges, 36 of these are state run. The state run sector consists of 11 universities plus the Karolinska Institute and the Royal Institute of Technology, 7 independent colleges of art and 16 university colleges. In 2002 the number of students attending Swedish higher education reached 330,000, which is an increase of 7 per cent from the year before. Despite an expansion of the system and an increase in number of enrolments, the number of applicants still precedes places on offer.


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