At the beginning of 2023, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences became one of the first Finnish higher education institutions to introduce an electronic service that enables the agile and reliable transfer of study credits completed abroad to be counted towards a Finnish degree. The reform paves way for cross-border digital public services.
In the past, the credit transfer process has been laborious for students and higher education institutions, and it has relied heavily on paper documents and the students' own activity.
This has easily led to errors, and requests for supplementary or additional information have been frustrating for both the students and higher education institutions. The newly-introduced service now makes the transfer process easier, particularly at the time the student is returning from the exchange to Finland or to their home institution abroad.
– In the past, the student had to attach a large number of documents to their credit transfer application, and the processor has then used the documents to verify the completion of the credits. Processing and verification have been carried out manually, which has made the process laborious as majority of the applications may have been returned to the students due to incomplete or incorrect information. The reform will significantly ease the everyday life of teachers, student counsellors and students, says Project Manager Tapio Ekholm from Metropolia.
The new service is based on the EMREX solution, which has been widely adopted in Europe, for example in Norway. EMREX is included in the latest version of the Peppi study system. It enables the cross-border exchange of study credit information in an electronic, machine-readable format. Studies completed elsewhere can efficiently and reliably be counted towards a degree being studied for, without any manual work.
Data exchanged electronically between higher education systems is also more reliable, as it cannot be destroyed or amended along the way. The reform does not require any measures from the students. The new procedures can be implemented as soon as the personnel processing the applications have been trained. The service can be adopted by all Finnish higher education institutions that use the Peppi study system.
Part of a broader Nordic collaboration
The reform introduced at Metropolia will facilitate and automate the exchange of information between higher education institutions. It works both between higher education institutions in different countries and between different higher education institutions in the same country. There are many potential use cases for the solution also outside education. The Finnish National Agency for Education coordinates the Studying in another Nordic country and the Baltic countries project, which focuses on study credit data. The goal is to raise awareness for good practices, as their widespread use would promote the digitalisation of the region.
– Regional collaboration is carried out under the leadership of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The aim is for the local reforms and solutions to be interoperable with Nordic and European solutions and policies. They should therefore be scalable for more widespread use, just like the solution introduced at Metropolia, says Project Manager Riikka Rissanen from the Finnish National Agency for Education.
The Studying in another Nordic country and the Baltic countries project is a Cross-Border Digital Services Programme advanced in close cooperation with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. A key strategic initiative of the Council of Ministers, the Cross Border Digital Services (CBDS) programme promotes the interoperability of cross-border digital services through several projects.
Source: Digital and Population Data Services Agency