• Sweden edition
 
Opinion
'Sweden needs more international students'
Swedish students attend a lecture. File photo: Axbom/Flickr

'Sweden needs more international students'

Published: 15 Jan 2014 13:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Jan 2014 13:04 GMT+01:00

Higher education is becoming all the more important as a competitive factor in today's globalized society. Many countries are investing in and expanding their education systems and there is a clear increase in the number of students getting ther education abroad. The total number of students studying abroad worldwide  is around three million. These people are an important part of resource for competency in the future.
 
An increase in internationalization demands understanding and respect for different cultures, and international students contribute to domestic students' knowledge. Swedish students gain cultural influences while at the same time international students are introduced to Swedish culture. This is significant for those who end up working in Swedish companies abroad.
 
These international students are important for Sweden. Swedish companies are largely international and need to attract new talent. International students who return home or move to another country are important ambassadors for Sweden and for Swedish companies operating in these countries. They are important for trade contacts in general, but even for Sweden's possibility of contributing to sustainable development in emerging regions.
 
Sweden has lost 80 percent of students from outside of the EU since the government introduced tuition fees, down from over 8,000 to 1,600. The proportion of students in Sweden from outside of Europe is less than two percent, far lower than the EU average of five percent. At the same time, the number of foreign students getting work permits in Sweden is decreasing. When asked, 85 percent of students said they would choose to stay in Sweden. In reality, 17 percent stay, and that number is dropping. 
 
A new report from Boston Consulting Group shows that students decide which country to study in based on rankings, access to exclusive programmes, and the cost of education. It also shows that, of the students who are offered a place in Sweden, only 20 percent accept if there is no scholarship. If there is a scholarship, 70 percent accept.
 
Meanwhile, students from outside of the EU choose to head to other countries where the costs are equally high or even higher than in Sweden. This is despite the fact that Sweden, according to an survey among alumni, can compete with high quality education, unique education, and high quality of life.
 
There are two reasons for this: These countries have well-formed tuition fee grants for paying students, an area in which Sweden's efforts are very modest. In many other countries, students are offered good possibilities of a job after graduation. In Germany and the Netherlands, for example, students are allowed residency for six to 12 months after they complete their degree. To be able to stay in Sweden, students must find a job before they graduate.
 
As representatives for trade and higher education, we believe that the decreasing number of non-European students gives the wrong picture of Sweden as an international player. We have to do something, now. The fact that the government has promised a further 100 million kronor ($15.5 million) for scholarships aimed at aid-recipient countries is of course positive. But Sweden also needs to be able to compete for students from other countries. For more of them to come, more scholarships are needed. To attract them and to keep them here, there needs to be reformed visa laws and a clear objective from both a university and industry level.
 
We're proposing a new scholarship model that is both socio-economically justified and cost-neutral for the state. The model is to be founded on three principles:
 
- The scholarships should be funded by income tax revenue from non-EU students who stay on in Sweden to work after graduation. To achieve cost neutrality, Sweden needs to offer 1,500 students scholarship, of whom 20 percent must stay on for at least five years. 
 
- The distribution of the scholarship funds needs to be decentralized. The state should allocate a certain scholarship sum to universities and university colleges, which then in turn allocate it to the prospective students.
 
- The funds should be allocated to universities based on an incentive model that is partly based on attractiveness (the number of students that pay the fees) and partly on the ability to foster the study-work transition (the number of students who get specialized work permits after their exams).
 
With an increase in scholarship funding and better opportunities for students to stay after their exams - but with revised rules for residency after the exams which gives the possibility of staying and seeking a job - Sweden's chances of being a competitive player in the global arena will increase too, both in education and industry. But to attract students from around the world it must be clear that Sweden is an attractive country in which to be educated.  That requires industry, academia, and the government to take a joint responsibility.
 
We are ready. Is the government?
 
Carl Bennet, CEO of Carl Bennet AB Börje Ekholm, CEO of Investor
Leif Johansson, board member at Astra Zeneca and Ericsson
Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Scania Olof Persson, CEO of AB Volvo
Pam Fredman, chairwoman of Sveriges universitets- och högskoleförbund and head of Gothenburg University
Peter Gudmundson, head of Kungliga tekniska högskolan (KTH)
 
Originally published in Swedish in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. Translation by The Local

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Science
Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Researchers from Sweden have been speaking about a rare discovery of mammal fossils in the Antarctic. READ  

Ukraine conflict
Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact
The Sweden Democrats have two MEPs, seen here with the party's leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact

BREAKING: The European Parliament has backed an 'historic' agreement to allow closer trade between the EU and Ukraine, but the nationalist Sweden Democrats were among those trying to block the deal on Tuesday. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals
Liberal party leader Jan Björklund. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals

UPDATED: Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund says he has no plans to join a government with the election-winning Social Democrats, as Sweden's political future remains uncertain. READ  

Analysis
'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene
Photo: Victor1558/Flickr

'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene

The Local checks out crowd-funding in Sweden as US giant Kickstarter announces plans to launch in Scandinavia. READ  

Opinion
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Brit Kester Gibson (left) thinks Scotland should split from the UK but Swede Mimi Coglianos disagrees. Photos: private

Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?

Scotland votes on whether to become independent this week and the Scottish National Party has suggested closer ties with Scandinavia if the 'yes' camp wins. The Local asked two readers if they agreed with Scotland splitting from the UK. READ  

Sport
Malmö gear up for Champions League
Sweden's biggest club Malmö face Juventus on Tuesday. Photo:TT

Malmö gear up for Champions League

Malmö are the first Swedish club in the Champion's League for more than a decade but they face a tough debut fixture against Italian champions Juventus in their Group A opener. READ  

Sweden earthquake 'was strongest in 100 years'
The town of Mora, near where the earthquake hit. Photo: Shutterstock

Sweden earthquake 'was strongest in 100 years'

An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale shook parts of central Sweden on Monday and experts have revealed it was the strongest in a century. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven rules out making government with the Left
Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt. Photo: TT

Löfven rules out making government with the Left

Election winner Stefan Löfven announced on Monday that he would not form a government with the Left Party, a move that party's leader called a "huge mistake". READ  

Elections 2014
Six big headaches for Stefan Löfven
Stefan Löfven: a man with a lot on his plate. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Six big headaches for Stefan Löfven

Stefan Löfven has started talks to form a new government, but the former welder faces huge challenges in bringing together an administration that will work. The Local explains why. READ  

Business
Microsoft to buy Swedish Minecraft makers

Microsoft to buy Swedish Minecraft makers

UPDATED: Microsoft announced on Monday that it was buying Swedish company Mojang, which was behind the hit game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion (17.9 billion kronor). READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Blog updates

15 September

Liten, litet, små & lilla (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Have you ever been confused about when to use “liten”, “litet”, “små” and “lilla”? Today I’m going to sort out how use the adjective “liten” (small) and the different forms of it. Liten or litet? “Liten” is the form we will use when referring to a noun with the gender “en”. For example: Min pappa har en..." READ »

 

12 September

EU sanctions: necessary, effective and timely (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Regular readers of this blog know I’ve written about the Russia-Ukraine crisis here. Today I’ve chosen to share an article by the UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington, with my readers: This week the European Union imposed further sanctions on Russia. This decision followed months of destabilisation of Ukraine by Russia, and months of political..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

857
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN