Too much English
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Too much English

Av Forskerforum

Publisert 12. september 2022

Here's the september edition of News in English.

‘The Ministry must talk to researchers’

Norwegian research institutions have strongly criticised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for its proposed changes to the export control regulations, which regulate the export of products that could be used for military purposes by foreign powers. The MFA wishes to introduce licences for the transfer of knowledge, prompting Benedicte Carlsen, vice-rector at the University of Bergen, to react:

‘We understand that they need to strike a balance between our academic freedom and other considerations, such as national security, but they have acted without consulting the sector. We don’t know how we would implement the measures they describe in practice.’

Annonse

Carlsen claims that the MFA clearly doesn’t understand how the research sector works, and she fears that researchers will no longer be able to collaborate with whoever they want.

‘We’re not against extending the export control regulations,’ she says, ‘but it’s important that it is done properly.’

Read the full story in Norwegian.

Too much English on the syllabus

Although current government policy promotes the use of Norwegian technical language in higher education, research shows that English is increasingly dominating both the syllabus and teaching of a number of subjects. According to Heidi Norland of Scandinavian University Press, this is especially true of psychology and IT, where English terms have become so established that it is hard for Norwegian words to catch on. However, the value of having Norwegian textbooks and articles on the syllabus cannot be overestimated, she says:

‘Learning basic concepts in your own language leads to a much better understanding, and our editors are constantly working on this.’

Surveys show that it is the person responsible for the course that decides the syllabus, yet no one has responsibility for ensuring that Norwegian terminology is used. The government expects institutions to follow the language situation in teaching carefully and to implement measures if necessary.

Read the full story in Norwegian.

Postdocs to face no new restrictions

There has been some confusion surrounding several of the proposals contained in the government’s consultation paper on new legislation for universities and university colleges. The Ministry of Education and Research has now clarified that the government does not intend to get rid of part-time posts, and nor will it introduce new restrictions for postdocs. It only proposes to legislate on something that is already laid down in the regulations: spending more than one postdoc period at the same institution is not permitted.

Read the full article in Norwegian.

Calls for a high general increase

Now that Unio and the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations have a collective wage agreement for state employees, the entire increase is allocated locally. In the face of rising inflation, however, Professor Per Jarle Bekken of Nord University has called for the highest possible general increase for everyone.

‘We know that many people fail to send in wage claims and thus risk losing out in local negotiations,’ he says.

According to the Norwegian Association of Researchers, local organisations are free to find the solution that suits them best.

            Carlsen claims that the MFA clearly doesn’t understand how the research sector works, and she fears that researchers will no longer be able to collaborate with whoever they want.

            ‘We’re not against extending the export control regulations,’ she says, ‘but it’s important that it is done properly.’