This summer, news that the Norpart program, which provides resources for academic cooperation and and exchange programs, is being placed on hold due to uncertainty regarding its budget.
Our chair, Arnhild Leer-Helgensen, alongside with several other academic leaders at University of Agder have talked to Khrono regarding the impacts that this can bring to norwegian students and to development studies, as well as the academic environment in the country.
The General Assembly of NFU unanimously supports the movement resisting school fees for international students from outside EU/EØS and Switzerland and applauds the strong opposition from the higher education sector and parts of the political parties. As a global development research community, we are deeply worried about the consequences these fees will have on the quality and relevance of education and research in Norway.
In a time when we lift the Sustainable Development Goals as a common global project, we need knowledge, perspectives and cooperation that include all regions of the world. School fees do not only affect individual students, but the entire higher education system in Norway. The quality and relevance of our education will be weakened, as we will miss important critical perspectives and be more narrow-minded. As researchers and educators within the field of global development, we know how teaching a truly international student group challenges all involved and leads to a unique co-creation of knowledge. In addition, relationships between students from different places have lasting effects and create bonds that lead to more cooperation in research and current or future workplaces. If these school fees become a reality, Norway will lose both in terms of quality of education and research, and international networks.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that in a world that is ever more connected, the plurality and diversity brought by students from different parts of the world can help Norway become a more rounded and inclusive country.
The introduction of these school fees for students from outside EU/EØS and Switzerland can be seen as discriminatory and cause students from other parts of the world to not feel welcomed, which in the long run will be detrimental to Norwegian educational environment.
Therefore, we at NFU stand in opposition of these fees.
There is an ongoing discussion in Norway regarding a proposition for students outside of the EU/EØS and Switzerland to start paying tuiton when they chose to study in Norway.
Proposition 68L (2022-2023) has raise a ,ot of opposition with several organizations and universtities, such as SAIH, Universitet i Agder, NTNU and others standing against it. They all fear that this will create a barrier for students to come to Norway as well as being a starting point to start charging tuition to all students in the future.
NFU chairwoman, Arnhild Leer-Helgesen states that “The implementation of school-fees for students outside Europe/EØS and Switzerland is a serious backlash for the quality and relevance of higher education and research in Norway. To face the multiple crisis in the world we need more exchange of perspectives and knowledge, not less. The contribution of students and researchers from the so-called “Global South” to co-creation of knowledge, is heavily underrated. With this cut, adding to cuts in funds for research in the broad field of global development, Norway has less capacity to develop the knowledge we need to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”
If you wish to join the fight against the introduction of skolepenger, sign the petition started by SAIH:
It is our pleasure to announce that our general assembly will count with the presence of European Association Development Research and Training Institutes General Secretary: Susanne von Itter.
She will talk about EADI and what the organization does, the relationship with NFU and the benefits of being connected with a broad network. Her participation will enrich our assembly and allow members to have an insight into a bigger organization and their workings. This is a great opportunity to learn more and connect with EADI.
For more information regarding EADI, you can access their website: https://www.eadi.org/
Our General Assembly be held on May 15th from 15:00-16:30 Norwegian time on Zoom.
This week we will introduce you to one of our board members and Co-chair of NFU: Jason Miklian.
Jason has been a part of NFU for 5 years and is a key member in our organization. He became a part of NFU because he thinks that given how diverse the topics housed under the “development studies” umbrella are, he feels it is essential for scholars both in Norway and the Nordics more broadly to have the opportunity to untie and grow together, especially given the challenges that development studies and adjacent fields are facing globally.
He has two main research areas: 1. Business, development and peacebuilding. 2. Climate and Conflict.
He chose his research fields due to a mix of interest and happenstance! He started his career as a South Asia studies scholar, then became interested in the connections between business and conflict in places of “economic underdevelopment”, as the Indian government put it. This led to his PhD at Noragric in development studies, with a qualitative / mixed-methods focus studying the role of the Maoist conflict and extractive firms on development.
He currently works for the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo and his main projects now are an NFR-funded qualitative collaborative project on the role of small businesses in crisis and urban fragility, and an NFR mixed-methods project on the role of business and development on conflict in Africa.
Since he is living in Bogotá, Colombia at the moment, he is enjoying the sunshine and wonderful people while enjoying a bit less needing to get up early for the occasional 4AM call with his Oslo colleagues. 🙂
In his opinion, development studies is an worthwhile field because in an era of increasing specialization (yet hosting demands to be more cross-cutting and interdisciplinary), development studies provides an ideal platform for understanding complex societal relations in a way more holistically and critically-oriented than many other point-specific fields. In a time of increasing global uncertainty over inequality, climate change, and international order he believes that we are overdue for a renaissance in development studies, and he is excited for NFU to be a part of this leading edge.
For his more recent works, he chose to share with us a recent narrative non-fiction book on the Liberation of Bangladesh and the climate-conflict links therein, called The Vortex. Even though it is a less academic work, he is still very proud of it and thought it would be very intersting to share it.