Publisert 5. desember 2022
Universities are obliged by law to promote technical terminology in Norwegian. This is particularly important in vocational training such as nursing, where for many students Norwegian is not even their first language.
The University of Agder is one of several institutions to have implemented measures to boost students’ language skills. Professor Anne Valen Skisland (pictured) says that language difficulties come to light when students need to write papers linking theory and practice: ‘It’s difficult because they haven’t understood the concepts properly. Anatomy and physiology in themselves aren’t a problem.’
At the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, associate professor Ingrid Gilje Heiberg teaches a course called Norwegian for nurses, designed to help multilingual students. They discuss a podcast made by the Council of Nursing Ethics and write texts using the concepts. Students thus feel better prepared to write up patient records and communicate correctly during practice placements.
Ola Borten Moe has been Minister of Research and Higher Education for a year. He thinks that better use can be made of the resources spent on research and has started work on a report to the Storting addressing the entire system. Although the white paper won’t be ready until 2025, some measures may be implemented earlier.
‘The more we spend on higher education, the more this generates applications and the need for resources at the Research Council of Norway,’ he says. ‘We’ll continue to provide the Council with record high funding, but the university sector receives even more, and with this comes responsibility. We need to clarify what universities should get funding for from the Research Council and what they should finance themselves.’
Borten Moe insists that too much time is spent on writing applications for funding and a higher percentage of these must be granted. He has also put pressure on universities to reduce temporary contracts and says that this is starting to show results.
The deadline for reaching agreement on this year’s pay increases at universities and university colleges is 30 November. Although the new tariff agreement gives more flexibility to each institution in terms of providing general and individual merit increases, much of the wage settlement has again been distributed evenly among staff. The parties at Oslomet agreed on a general increase of 1.9 percent for all, while the University of Bergen settled on 1.3 percent, with a 50/50 distribution between general and merit increases. In most cases, pay increases will in fact be eaten up by rising prices.
The proposed national budget for next year has allocated 43.6 billion kroner to research and development (R&D). In real terms, this is 1.1 percent less than this year, or 476 million kroner. At the same time, R&D is set to fall sharply as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) due to Norway benefitting from the high oil and gas prices. With current public expenditure on R&D at 0.76 percent of the GDP, which is the lowest since 2008, the goal of 1 percent will not be met either this year or next. Public funding of R&D has effectively remained unchanged since 2018.