Sweden to introduce new masters degree

Sweden's minister of education, Leif Pagrotsky, has announced a major shake-up among the country's higher education institutions to make them more attractive to international students. The biggest change is a two year masters degree.

But Sweden’s student union, SFS, is afraid this will only cause more confusion between students:

“The change itself is good – there will be a higher quality education for students,” said Nina Gustavsson, SFS’s vice-chairwoman, to Sveriges Radio.

“But we are a bit concerned that things will become unclear and that students will get stuck in the middle in the long run.”

The idea behind the changes is to bring European education closer together. The two year masters degree will help students who are planning to enter the research market, by serving as a middle ground between undergraduate studies and research. The future of the present one-year “masters-equivalent” is still unclear.

“I don’t want to answer this question. At the moment, it is best to not go into details before all pieces are resolved,” said Leif Pagrotsky to news agency TT.

In a debate article in Dagens Nyheter, Pagrotsky said that with the recent developments in the educational arena, students will be able to move around freely between countries and learning institutions, once the Swedish higher education system adapts.

The goal, he said, is that a flexible education will increase chances of getting a better job.

“Together with 45 European countries, the higher education system will renew itself through the Bologna process. The Bologna process is one of the most successful international cooperations that I have seen throughout my eight years as a minister,” wrote Pagrotsky in DN.

He also wrote that competition is good for Sweden’s and Europe’s education market.

But what is still unclear is how students will support themselves once the change takes place. He said he is open to the possibility of Swedish students taking loans to study abroad, but that it still remained to be clarified. A decision is expected before the summer break.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, SR