Rector From Helsinki University Believes Immigrants May Prove Crucial to the Success of Universities

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Rector Jukka Kola. Picure: Ari Aalto

Rector Jukka Kola from Helsinki University believes that external influences may prove crucial to the success of the university.

“We must welcome researchers and students who bring with them new ideas, for Finland is not home to all wisdom. The new arrivals may come from any province, country or university; all that counts is their competence,” Kola said at Helsinki University’s 375th anniversary celebration on Thursday.

Kola said that boosting the university’s international character requires hard work in both: recruitment and teaching.

“It is not enough to turn courses that were previously given in Finnish into courses in English. The content of teaching must also reflect the university’s international dimension.”

In order to promote education export, “we must improve the quality, attractiveness and visibility of teaching offerings.”

At the University of Helsinki, one in five teaching and research staff members comes from abroad but among professors, this figure is only one in ten.

Because the Helsinki University is ranked among the 100 leading universities in the world, it is able to attract top researchers and international partners.

However, even if working at the university sounds like an attractive alternative, settling in Finland can be challenging.

Kola pleads with employers in particular to assume their responsibility:

“Employers speak warmly about international experts but in practice, new graduates or researchers with an international background – let alone their spouses – are having difficulty finding work in Finland.”

Kola said that international activities are a means to improve Finland’s wellbeing and competitiveness.

“We need new ideas and international perspectives. Immigration pays off, even from a selfish viewpoint,” he said.

“Finland has many positive aspects that we may be unable to market well enough on the international arena. Finnish society enjoys stability, safety and equality.”

Source: A bulletin from Helsinki University

The 375th Anniversary of Helsinki University

The University of Helsinki celebrated its 375th Anniversary on March 26 2015.

The date reaches back to the reign of Queen Kristina of Sweden when the guardian council signed the foundation letter in 1640.

The university functioned as the Royal Academy in Turku until 1808.

After the war against Russia in 1808-1809, the university moved to Helsinki in 1828 and received the name the Imperial Alexander University. The name University of Helsinki has been in use since 1919.

The University of Helsinki is today the academic home to a contingent of 35,000 students.

The University of Helsinki is internationally ranked among the 100 best universities.

 

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