Open letter to university principals in Finland   (Published: 10.01.2020)

Human growth and development in adulthood depend on the individual's goals, mental and financial resources, and the response of the community to the provision of the infrastructure and activities for further education. I graduated in 1974 from the Department of Education Planning at the Department of Education at the University of Helsinki. At that time, there were two areas of strong growth in Finland and other industrialized countries: (1) computerization of business and government and (2) development of education and training systems.

Already during my university studies, I had begun studying systems work and information technology in working life, because there was no corresponding computer science teaching in universities. I combined my know-how in the education sector with the 'Omnia Mea mecum Porto' principle to systems thinking knowledge. This was the beginning of my over 40 years of working abroad, which combined the two areas of expertise above.

At that time, there was no Bologna process or master's / doctoral program in the world. All we had to do was to understand in what direction we could develop. For my part, it led to my own way first in Finland in the 1970s and towards the end of the same decade, mainly outside Finland, until 2016, I started working full time and synthesizing my activities and experiences in Finland.

1) System Design and Computer-Based Information Systems Design / East-West Computer Trade Consulting 1975-1995. Master's thesis "Computer in human resource management and defining the information needs for its development in the computer-based control system of human resources management at Oy Nokia Ab.

2) Project Managers and Expert Assignments in International Aid Organizations' Technical Assistance (TA) programs and the EU in various social development implementation and evaluation projects in the former USSR, East Asia, and the Middle East (Egypt) 1996-2019.

Over the years, I've compiled an extensive archive and digital technology / system design of the TA-project methods vuosina1970 - Archives 2019. There are collated and archived, as well as PC-based files. My dissertation idea was born in the early 2000s. The idea has matured and formed two sub-entities:

A) Methods of setting goals for social development and TA programs and making the beneficiary countries’ priorities in the aid planning, implementation and evaluation of activities, incl. the methodological standards used in them and their functionality and rationality.

B) Evaluating performance in current digitization projects for aid programs compared to computerized projects based on classical systems analysis in industrialized countries in the 1960s and 1980s before the onset of the Internet period in the early 1990s.

The aim of this dissertation is to identify and describe structural and functional problems related to the efficiency of the current aid system. In the same context and later, different paths should be explored, and recommendations made to increase efficiency and replace functionality.

So far, no holistic analysis has been made of the overall functioning of the development / TA programs and the Agenda 2030 for SDGs. There is pressure to improve aid delivery. Beneficiary countries want better targeting of aid. Donor countries, on the other hand, want more synergies in their own and other donors' aid programs.

 

A brief analysis of this issue has been published in the Finnish Science Policy 2/2019. Late last year I published on my homepage two essays clarifying the logic behind this thinking: "Development integrity management" and "New road map for the development of education".

Why the Universities in Finland want to train experts for scientific work only with the help of existing doctoral programs. At the same time, it rejects the centuries-old academic tradition of 'freedom, creativity and innovation at the individual level, which has been the foundation of a knowledge-based society for centuries, particularly for small countries.

The "exception to rule" is another unwritten law that has guided change processes and development in human communities for centuries. If university doctoral education is to ensure high quality and the number of graduates, why do these doctoral programs be needed if the doctoral candidate has previously acquired the necessary expert knowledge somewhere else.

To quote Martin Luther King, writing a dissertation is a dream come true for many people involved in higher education. This dream should not be taken away. The values and practices brought to Finland from the rest of the world should not force those experts, who walk their own paths in developing their skills, to move abroad to defend their PhD dissertations. No such neo-migration is needed.

Creativity and knowledge are great assets, particularly in a small country. Imported monolithic administrative practices should not shackle them.

 

Heikki K. Auvinen

 

© Heikki K. Auvinen, 2020, Development Consultant 2020 – All rights reserved.


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