Analysis of range of lifelong learning courses
At the request of the government, the University has analysed the range of lifelong learning and transition courses.
The government has tasked higher education institutions with analysing their range of courses in light of the introduction of the new transition study support. In turn, the Swedish Higher Education Authority has been tasked with compiling and analysing the higher education institutions’ analyses.
The Authority considers two questions to be key in the analysis:
- How does the existing range help meet the need for courses to which the new support can give rise?
- How does the higher education institution plan to develop its range to enhance access to lifelong learning and transition courses?
Uppsala University’s analysis, approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 29 November 2022, notes that:
the University’s preliminary studies show that short courses are often a prerequisite for the ability of professionals to prioritise and implement skills development. The University’s range of freestanding courses is therefore central to the analysis. For example, a pilot project is highlighted involving courses shorter than 5 credits with the aim of upgrading, broadening and expanding skills.
The University also describes the opportunity to offer all or parts of programmes as skills development course packages, as well as existing programmes as supplementary degree programmes, for example supplementary teacher training. The option of offering entirely public courses (non-credit-awarding and with no entry requirements) has also been analysed.
In the section on plans and ongoing efforts to develop the range of courses, the University raises two areas in which University-wide measures are being implemented: interdisciplinary courses and sustainable development. In the case of interdisciplinary or boundary-crossing courses, the University writes that “A significant factor for success in terms of meeting demand for interdisciplinary courses is the University’s ability to improve its internal cooperation and minimise any administrative obstacles."
In order to upgrade and develop courses, the analysis notes that the role and task of administrative support functions need to be reviewed and made more efficient.
The University notes that contract education plays a key role, writing that the ambition for the Division for Contract Education is to have a dialogue with all departments at least once a year to develop new contract education over the coming two to three years.
Other areas highlighted include the importance of strategic partnerships and collaboration with alumni.
Challenges and risks
In the analysis, the University also highlights challenges and risks linked to the adjustment to lifelong learning, including that this adjustment must be combined with funding, either in the form of government funding or contract education. Another challenge raised is the risk of reduced quality if the higher education institutions do not have the opportunity to adopt a long-term and consistent approach.
- The analysis ‘Uppdrag att genomlysa utbildningsutbudet för livslångt lärande och omställning’ is available on the Staff Portal (‘Task to highlight the range of lifelong learning and transition courses’, in Swedish only).
- The website of the Swedish Higher Education Authority provides all of the analyses submitted by the higher education institutions
- UNESCO report on lifelong learning, news item, 18 October 2022
- Information on current strategic partnerships on the Staff Portal (Swedish)