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Aalto University leading a digital vision of Finnish higher education

President Niemelä elected to chair steering group for project planning now underway.
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Another step has been taken towards the digitalisation of Finnish higher education learning environments by 2030 (‘Digivision 2030’), as all Finnish universities – including universities of applied science – recently signed a letter of intent showing their commitment to implementation of this digitalisation project.

The common goal is to release Finland’s learning resources for the use of individuals and society at large, thus raising the profile of Finland as a model for flexible learning. Digivision 2030 will sharpen Finland’s competitive edge and ensure the conditions are met for future research and innovation.

‘It is really great to see all Finnish universities including those of applied sciences  coming together to make this vision a reality. Higher education is at a crossroads as continuous learning, for one example, is growing in significance. The united commitment to this ambitious project shows that Finnish higher education wants to be at the forefront of such developments globally’, says Aalto University President Ilkka Niemelä, chair of the digital vision 2030 steering group.

A concrete goal of the project is for learners to be provided with data about their learning that they can keep even after earning a higher education degree. This will serve the end of continuous learning over the course of one’s professional life. An additional aim is to achieve better data utilisation for leading higher educational institutions and education policy.

Digivision 2030 is about more than just putting university teaching on shared digital platforms.

‘Digitalisation can give access to educational paths for learners regardless of time, place or student status; it is open to everyone. We believe that Digivision 2030 will make Finland even more of a global pathfinder in the field of education. No similar projects have been undertaken anywhere’, reports Matti Sarén, President and CEO of Kajaani University of Applied Sciences.

Aalto University and Metropolia to lead the project

The journey towards a shared national vision will continue with some practical steps in 2020. Aalto University and Metropolia have been chosen to be in charge of Digivision 2030.

The vision work will be led by a steering group consisting of Ilkka Niemelä (chair) and the following Arene and Unifi representatives:

  • Hannu Ikonen, Development Manager (JAMK)
  • Marjo Nenonen, Head of Student and Academic Affairs (Karelia)
  • Manu Pajuluoma, Chief Information Officer (Lapland University of Applied Sciences)
  • Matti Sarén, President/CEO (KAMK)
  • Eeva Viitanen, Director, Development (Metropolia)
  • Ari Hirvonen, Chief Digital Officer (University of Jyväskylä)
  • Annukka Jokipii, Vice Rector (University of Vaasa)
  • Kati Kettunen, Head of Services (University of Helsinki)
  • Jari Perkiömäki, Rector (University of the Arts Helsinki)
     

Next steps: planning identity management and exploring legislation

The implementation of Digivision 2030 will begin with the establishment of a project office to coordinate the project planning. The steps planned for 2020 include charting the ‘user journey’, outlining a new kind of digital architecture, planning identity management and analysing the needs for legislative changes.

In all, the project will span 10 years and be worth tens of millions of euros.

‘It sounds like a large sum of money, but you have to think about it in proportion to the 250 million euros we spend each year on information management in the higher education sector’, concludes Rector Matti Sarén.

The preparations for the project agreement and funding will be completed this spring. Digivision 2030 has been developed by the Finnish higher education institutions with solid support from the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Digivision 2030 will be greatly beneficial not only to the higher education institutions, but also to the Finnish education system as a whole.

As summed up by President Ilkka Niemelä: ‘We are transforming higher education to meet the needs of the future.’

Original press release Unifi (link)

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