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Quality of Swedish unis 'too low': minister

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Quality of Swedish unis 'too low': minister
12:23 CET+01:00
Sweden's education minister Jan Björklund has slammed the quality of the country's higher education system as he unveiled plans to revamp the way university quality is monitored.

“The quality of the knowledge that Swedish students have when they leave university is not enough to prepare them for adult life,” Björklund told Sverige Radio (SR), adding that too often, the quality of Swedish universities is often "too low".

“We need a much tougher and more stringent government inspection of Sweden's higher education.”

The government wants to create a new authority which has the sole purpose of monitoring the quality of higher education at universities and colleges nationwide.

The idea is to get rid of all courses that are not up to scratch and revamp the current bureaucracy by replacing the three current academic authorities with two.

The three current authorities are the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket), the Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services (Verket för högskoleservice - VHS) and the International Programme Office for Education and Training (Internationella programkontoret för utbildningsområdet - IPK).

Following the reshuffle, the responsibilities of the three will be divided over two agencies, with the one being the only agency responsible for quality control of the higher education system.

Björklund explained that the current Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, is plagued by being required to both give development advice and review courses at the same time.

Such a mandate was unsustainable, according to the minister, as it resulted in the possibility that bureaucrats would end up reviewing the very concepts they proposed.

The new proposal, contained in the interim findings of a government inquiry presented on Tuesday, will abolish such risks, according to Björklund.

The concept has been tested on campuses by the Swedish School's Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen), and the careful scrutiny has given immediate results, according to Björklund.

“The quality is monitored very, very closely," he told SR.

"It is for the students' best."

The new authority is planned to come into existence at the end of the year.

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