Finnish higher education and research in the spotlight in Chile

September 24, 2019

FinCEAL Plus BRIDGES LAC Coordinator Kajsa Ekroos was invited to participate and give a key note speech at the ”New Challenges for the Internationalization of Higher Education” seminar organized by Universidad SEK in Santiago de Chile on 27th August, 2019.

Universidad SEK is a relatively small private university that on a strategic level is seeking to strengthen its international cooperation and engagement in key international platforms. As part this effort, SEK convened a one-day seminar that involved perspectives from Europe, Chile and other Latin American countries.

Besides the BRIDGES LAC Coordinator, the other key-note speakers were Dr. Beatriz Peluffo from the Technological University of Uruguay, Nadia Rodríguez, Rector of Universidad SEK Ecuador, and Director María José Lemaitre from CINDA (Centro Interuniversitario de Desarrollo), Chile. The key notes touched upon various different yet interconnected topics related to the internationalization of higher education, such as higher education and science policies, challenges related to student and staff mobility, aspects of the EU-LAC bi-regional academic dialogue, quality management, as well as the role of values and intercultural learning in international academic cooperation.

David Miranda, USEK, in a panel with Nadia Rodríguez and María José Lemaitre.

The experiences shared from the four countries provided a rich backdrop for discussion between the speakers and the active audience. From the Finnish perspective, it was especially interesting to understand more about the role private universities play in the higher education landscape in Latin America, where in many countries the public system is unable to provide a sufficient amount of educational opportunities for the population. On the other hand, the high degree of trust and the emphasis placed on self-evaluation as features of the Finnish education system sparked a lot of interest among the audience.

When it comes to education and educational system reforms, Finland continues to be seen as a very important reference in Latin America, especially Chile. As an aftermath of the seminar, the BRIDGES LAC Coordinator was also invited to a colloquium with pedagogy students at Finis Terrae University, and to give an interview on radio and in El Mercurio, one of the major Chilean newspapers.

Picture credits: David Miranda/USEK, Kajsa Ekroos/UniPID