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  1. 1. Norwegian Higher Education Reforms Since 1990 Sverre Rustad Deputy Director General
  2. 2. <ul><li>Overview of Norwegian Higher Education </li></ul><ul><li>1990s reforms </li></ul><ul><li>The Quality Reform (2003) </li></ul><ul><li>The Stjernø Committee (2008) </li></ul>Headlines
  3. 3. Norwegian higher education – an overview <ul><li>38 state-owned HEIs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>7 universities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 specialized university institutions (architecture, business administration, music, sports, veterinary medicine) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>24 university colleges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 academies of the arts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Military and police academies </li></ul><ul><li>Private HEIs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not for profit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>approximately 10 % of students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6 fully accredited institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a further 25 with accredited programmes </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Norwegian Higher Education (II) <ul><li>Decentralized institutional structure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>successful in terms of access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>poses challenges in terms of quality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>High share of public funding </li></ul><ul><li>No tuition fees in state-owned HEIs </li></ul><ul><li>Around 50 % of the relevant age cohorts now attend HE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 in 5 students older than 30 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>only 1 in 5 students younger than 22 </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. 1990s reforms <ul><li>Pre-1990: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>large number of very small higher education institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>massification had not started in earnest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>only the universities and specialized university institutions were covered by institutional legislation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1991: White paper on Higher Education set direction for major reforms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>based on recommendations of 1988 government commission (the Hernes Committee) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 1990s reforms (II) <ul><li>1994: 98 regional colleges merged into 26 state (university) colleges </li></ul><ul><li>1995: Act relating to Universities and Colleges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>covered all state-owned HEIs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>institutions named in act under respective categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enshrined principle of division of labour </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Steering: HEIs micro-managed by Ministry to large extent </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Quality Reform (2003) <ul><li>Based on the proposals of the Mjøs Committee (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Instruments: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>March 2001: Main white paper (St.meld. nr. 27) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>June 2001: Decisions by the Storting (parliament) on principles of the reform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spring 2002: 5 supplementary White Papers and 2 Legal Bills, new decisions by the Storting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1. July 2002: Legislation comes into force </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1. January 2003: establishment of the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reform implemented at all HEIs from autumn 2003 (some from autumn 2002) </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Quality Reform (II) <ul><li>Main elements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delegation of powers to HEIs in academic, organisational, and financial matters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>including freedom to establish and withdraw study programmes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in governance and management structures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New financing system based partly on output </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in student support system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New degree structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New teaching and assessment methods focusing on student learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased emphasis on internationalization; introduction of ECTS, Diploma Supplement etc. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The Quality Reform (III) <ul><li>“ Bologna Process in Norway”, but also strongly influenced by i.a. OECD review </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by substantial increase in funding (NOK 1,2 billion) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in addition approximately 800 million as a result of increased output </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Institutions can move to “higher” category through accreditation process </li></ul>
  10. 10. The quality reform – preliminary conclusions <ul><li>Students produce more credits, but do not spend more time on studies </li></ul><ul><li>National quality assurance system established and well received </li></ul><ul><li>Internationalization takes time </li></ul><ul><li>Increased autonomy does not lead to more diversity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>institutions compete for students i.a. by establishing competing programmes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>universities set the norm for institutional and academic status </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3 new universities and 2 new specialized university institutions since 2005 </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Stjernø Committee: Challenges in 2008 <ul><li>Attempts at centrally regulated division of labour have not worked </li></ul><ul><li>Deregulation within present framework of governance seems to reduce rather than stimulate diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Fragmented institutional structure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>many small campuses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fragmentation of research training a special problem </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No top institutions in international rankings </li></ul><ul><li>Serious concerns about quality of key educational programmes </li></ul>
  12. 12. Challenges in 2008 (II) <ul><li>Increased competition for students, staff and research funds, also internationally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>quality is at the centre of success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>competitiveness in research requires concentration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Higher education and research seen as key to competitiveness and social, economic and cultural development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>further increasing the pressure for quality </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Challenges in 2008 (III) <ul><li>Demographic changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reduced youth cohorts in most parts of the country from 2015 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>accentuated by social preferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>some institutions already face major recruitment problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As more and more HEIs become universities, remaining university colleges, especially small regional ones, will struggle </li></ul>
  14. 14. Challenges to diversity <ul><li>All HEIs governed by same legislation </li></ul><ul><li>All HEIs required by law to carry out research and development work – no formal division of responsibilities between types of institutions </li></ul><ul><li>One common set of indicators for output-based financing </li></ul><ul><li>Structure of academic positions and salaries regulated nationally – same for all institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>academic drift at personal level </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Challenges to diversity (II) <ul><li>Possible for HEIs to be accredited in higher category – main criteria related to number of master and doctoral programmes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>academic drift at institutional level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strong regional element in all policy areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>activity/employment considerations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>competition for resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>regions want universities </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. The Stjernø Committee – Key considerations <ul><li>How to balance national policies and institutional autonomy? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional strategies determined by possibilities, internal and external pressures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not always in line with national goals and priorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>incentives vs. more direct steering </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How to combine accessibility of educational provision with concentration of research? </li></ul><ul><li>How to maintain quality in a decentralized system? </li></ul><ul><li>How to maintain diversity? </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Stjernø Committee – Proposals <ul><li>process of mergers of HEIs, based on proposals from institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>resulting institutions will be universities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>stronger element of national steering/policy supported by strategic funding </li></ul><ul><li>development of distinctive institutional profiles through long-term agreements, supervised by international advisory group </li></ul><ul><li>concentration of research training </li></ul><ul><li>changes in institutional management </li></ul><ul><li>measures for strengthening key vocational programmes </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Stjernø Committee - Reception <ul><li>Analysis widely shared </li></ul><ul><li>Proposals for mergers greeted with universal scepticism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>but few have been able to present alternative solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other proposals meet with varying degrees of support </li></ul><ul><li>Political follow-up pending </li></ul>