The University of Oulu aims to gain a foothold in the international education market by marketing whole degree programmes in particular. This policy was issued by the University Board of Directors and it is implemented via students paying a tuition fee and the Bachelor’s Degree Programme in software production launched in Nanjing, China. Almost 200 students have already started in Nanjing’s joint degree programme.
“Tuition fees became obligatory in 2017 for students coming from outside the EU and EEA. This autumn, 107 tuition fee-paying students started their studies here,” says Vice Rector for Education Helka-Liisa Hentilä.
Aiming at long-term partnerships
Education export is a financial opportunity for the university, but it also opens new paths to the quality development of education, research contacts and productisation of research results. Instead of individual measures, the aim is to establish long-term partnerships.
Educational institutes looking to expand their operations to foreign markets are supported by Team Finland’s Knowledge network, which already includes university and scientific experts from eight cities: Buenos Aires, Beijing, Singapore, Washington, Abu Dhabi, Pretoria (South Africa), New Delhi and Moscow.
Some regulatory hurdles have been eliminated and, for example, ordering fee-paying degree programmes within the EU was made possible at the beginning of this year. Even in Finland, an individual organisation can order degree programme education from a university to the extent that it desires, but a private individual cannot.
Focus on active cooperation and marketing
At the University of Oulu, internationality is widely promoted in the working group of international affairs. Science has always been international, but structures supporting cooperation relationships are also needed.
“Our most important goal is the international excellence of research,” says Strategy Director Charlotta Collén.
The European Universities Initiative enables wide-ranging strategic education cooperation in the international clusters of a few universities. The distance from Finnish universities to the national borders of other European states is long, but the University of Oulu intends to participate in the next call for proposals together with the Arctic universities of Luleå, Umeå, Tromsø and Lapland.
Both Hentilä and Collén emphasise the importance of international comparisons and audits. Especially in Asia, the certificates of a university or degree programme and their performance in comparison to others are studied with great interest. One key future calling card is the Research Assessment Exercise, i.e. RAE 2020.
Photo: The University of Oulu team is ready for the EAIE conference, organised in Helsinki next week.
Last updated: 17.9.2019