In her inaugural address for the academic year, Helsinki University Rector Sari Lindblom emphasized that Finland's future success hinges on raising its level of expertise through sustained investment.
In recent years, societies worldwide have faced significant global crises. Sari Lindblom highlighted how global and national socio-political developments are the result of complex factors, placing significant demands on university education.
"It requires sustained research, expertise, and, through that, understanding as we solve global challenges. Addressing multifaceted global and local challenges requires numerous problem solvers, collaboration, and interdisciplinary approaches," Lindblom stated.
According to Lindblom, flexibility and the ability to adapt, also known as resilience, are crucial skills for individuals, communities, and entire societies.
"We are educating professionals for an unknown future. The essence of science is the pursuit of the unknown, and knowledge is continually evolving. Therefore, the ability to operate amidst change is crucial. Analytical and critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities are the skills we impart from universities. Universities are bearers of hope," she said.
Lindblom also stressed the importance of belonging to a community in fostering resilience.
"We are a diverse community where there is no place for racism or discrimination. It is invaluable that every one of us can feel a part of the university."
"Finland's Future Success Relies on Raising Expertise Levels and Investing"
Rector Lindblom pointed out that the new government program contains positive decisions for universities but also uncertainties about the future direction.
"The government's decision to maintain the university index is vital for the functioning of universities. Long-term secure basic funding ensures the continuity of research and education. For the future of all Finland, it is crucial to commit to the goal of raising research and development expenditures to four percent of GDP by 2030," she stated.
However, measures to raise education and expertise levels appear less certain.
"Particularly, the proposed tightening of immigration rules has raised concerns in our community. We are one of the largest employers in the country, with a central role in recruiting international talent," Lindblom said.
Rector Lindblom reminded that Finland needs more international expertise.
"Finland's future success can only be guaranteed by raising the level of expertise through sustained investment. Therefore, barriers to entry, residence permits, and staying in Finland must be dismantled resolutely, rather than adding more obstacles," she concluded.