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Poor quality of university courses identified among Swedish schools of higher learning

Thursday, 26 April 2012
Swedish self critical attitude has means that much higher education courses in Sweden is of poor quality. Just over one in five training programs fail to meet required quality when those various academic programs were examines. The worst results were identified in courses in journalism and economics.

The evaluation, conducted by the Swedish National Agency for education, Högskoleverket, is the first in a series process where all higher education programs leading to degrees are audited.

For the first time the students' results have been used as a yardstick. In previous evaluations, syllabi and other such things stood as the basis for the assessment, but now the students' final theses were alone used to gauge the quality of education.
This first turn has reviewed 189 programs in seven disciplines at 26 universities and colleges. Tested subjects include psychology, economics, journalism and earth science.
In most subjects, the standards are relatively high. But half of the journalism courses and one-third of the courses in economics had failed to meet the basic standards.

Overall it was forecast that 78 percent of the courses are very high or high grade, while 22 percent have shortcomings.

The poor training quality is found in many universities in Sweden. But generally, most of the larger universities have high or very high quality of at least 80 percent of the courses.
A couple of the smaller schools are having less successful outcome.  Linné University and   Dalarna University showed that at least one half of their courses fail.

Swedish Minister of Education, Jan Björklund sees the evaluation as an important step to raise the level of education.
“It is a warning bell for those who have a lot of training with a lack of quality,” he says.
Bjorklund believes that the evaluation provides an accurate picture of the training mode.
“It is the students' knowledge that is important, and this is what is now being evaluated,” he said.

Higher education institutions with poor educations will now have a year to fill the gaps. If the situation persists beyond this year, the training will be closed down.
By Team

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