The work of Swedish Minister for Research and Education, Helene Hellmark Knutsson, is profiled by Open Access Government in this compelling article
“Knowledge is the foundation of positive societal change and our primary means of competing internationally. Sweden must compete on the basis of knowledge and skills – not low wages.” (1)
In the above quote, Swedish Minister for Research and Education, Helene Hellmark Knutsson, voices her opinion and that of the whole Ministry of Research and Education loud and clear. Education should not be a luxury, it should be a necessity. It is clear to see Sweden’s viewpoint on education and it is that of a positive one. All girls, boys, women and men should have the opportunity to test and develop their abilities and skills to achieve their full potential.
A good education provides any given person solid foundations for finding a job, multi-interdisciplinary skills, a thirst for knowledge in a global and complex world, and lays the foundations for a well-functioning society in which no one is discriminated against or excluded. This notion strives for a school that gives its pupils the support they need, where teachers enjoy their work and are offered the opportunity to develop professionally and personally, giving all children a fair chance of succeeding in life.
Thus, it is one of Sweden’s priorities to utilise and develop the skills of the whole population, fairly and slowly. The ministry is very aware that with Ms Knutsson leading it, that to create, live in, and sustain a successful democratic society, it is important to better yourself through a life in education.
Now, Sweden is a leading knowledge nation, but to maintain this, an equal education system and international competitiveness through world-class research will help this country to thrive even more. However, there are many challenges to tackle regarding society itself and socio-economic issues, and Sweden points to education as a means of battling this. “We, therefore, need to invest in heavily in Education and Research”. (2)
Another priority of the ministry is international cooperation and the amazing benefits that it can bring. For example, Tuesday 4th April marked the meeting of the Minister of Education and Higher Education of Qatar, Dr Mohammed Bin Abdul Wahid Al-Hammadi, and the Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research, Ms Knutsson. During the meeting, the mobility of researchers and students, as well as other types of cooperation within higher education and research, were discussed – two very current topics. The ministers also discussed the issue of gender equality within higher education and research – an issue that Ms Knutsson has previously been very vocal about and expressed her concern.
More recently, Ms Knutsson has confirmed international ties with China, signing a cooperation agreement at the end of August, during a meeting that she hosted with Wan Gang, the Chinese member of Science and Technology. It is apparent that Sweden is a very popular place for students from China to come and study abroad, meaning the link between the two countries has been considered for several years, and it is only getting stronger.
In areas such as technology and renewable energy, and furthermore, Swedish-Chinese research cooperation will only increase with the signing of the cooperation agreement between the Swedish agency for innovation, and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. This agreement will confirm cooperation between the two countries on areas such as traffic safety, life sciences, ageing and climate change. All these areas will further interest in education, knowledge and collaborative research and innovation.
The overarching objective of the Education and Research Policy is for Sweden to be a prominent knowledge and research nation, characterised by high standards. Excellence in research, higher education and innovation will lead to social development, prosperity and business competitiveness, and respond to the ever-changing economy and society overall. It is at the utmost importance to allow people to thrive under education, nationally and internationally, and it is more than obvious that the Ministry of Research and Education in Sweden, is being proactive in doing so.
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