NEWS The Government of Sweden proposed new initiatives in higher education in the 2020 Spring Fiscal Policy Bill and the Spring Amending Budget for 2020 with additional measures that was presented yesterday. Umeå University is expected to gain more study places in both 2020 and 2021, of which a majority will be places in summer courses and foundation year studies. In addition, new permanent study places will likely be added in the next two years.
"The whole of society is in an extreme situation today because of the ongoing viral epidemic and the economic consequences," says Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University. "Therefore, it is both well-advised and expected that substantial investments will be made in higher education due to the current situation in the labour market, and that many people are without a job. It is still unclear how large a proportion of study places and funding will be allocated to Umeå University, but we are preparing to receive more students in the summer and in the autumn."
The Government is proposing measures of SEK 513 million in 2020 and SEK 642 million in 2021 to the country's higher education institutions, corresponding to 9,300 and 6,600 more places, respectively. This year's investment mainly consists of places in summer courses (6,000), and to open more paths to universities and offer more opportunities to be admitted to, among other things, nursing education and technical education. In addition, there will be a significant increase in foundation year study places - 2,000 study places in 2020 and 4,000 study places in 2021.
The Government is also proposing a permanent extension of study places in higher education to 1,300 places in 2020 and 2,600 places in 2021. Priority should be given here to educational offerings where there is deemed to be a lack of skills, as well as courses that can facilitate people in need of change.
"There is already a large deficiency of educated workforce in several areas, including in the healthcare sector, and Umeå University can surely make a contribution there," notes Hans Adolfsson.
Although it is positive that Umeå University is receiving a funding increase in order to be able to offer more study places and expand educational offerings, it also puts a burden on the university operations.
"To begin with, the expansion of summer courses will hit our faculty and staff significantly, especially today when many already have a stressed situation. Therefore, it is important that we take steps to strengthen the resources in this situation. However, I have full confidence that we will get through this together," says Hans Adolfsson.