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SURVIVING THE FIRST YEARS: FINNISH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS' EXPERIENCES IN THE TWO-TIER DEGREE STRUCTURE 23 to 26 August 2009, Vilnius, Lithuania. Irina Lahti Research Unit for the Sociology of Education. BACKGROUND Bologna process Establishing the European Higher Education area by the year 2010

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irina lahti research unit for the sociology of education

SURVIVING THE FIRST YEARS: FINNISH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS' EXPERIENCES IN THE TWO-TIER DEGREE STRUCTURE23 to 26 August 2009, Vilnius, Lithuania

Irina Lahti

Research Unit for the Sociology of Education

slide2

BACKGROUND

  • Bologna process
  • Establishing the European Higher Education area by the year 2010
  • GOALS:
    • "Harmonizing" European HE (common degree structure), better cooperation
    • Improving transparency and comparability
    • Facilitating student mobility
slide3

NATIONAL GOALS FOR THE TWO-TIER DEGREE STRUCTURE

    • Reducing drop out
    • Improving flexibility
    • Shortening study times
    • Improving international competitiveness
    • Better integration to labour market
  • MEANS:
  • TWO-TIER DEGREE STRUCTURE
  • OBLIGATORY LOWER UNIVERSITY DEGREE
  • LIMITED STUDY TIME
  • BETTER STUDY GUIDANCE
slide4

FIRST SURVEY IN 2005

  • Was send to 4500 students who began their studies in 2005.
  • 6 fields of study, 12 universities.
  • Topics: background information, basic data.
  • SECOND SURVEY IN 2008
  • Was send to the same students as in 2005.
  • The purpose: to get an idea of how the new degree structure is working in practise.
  • Topics: transitions, drop out, internationalization, future plans etc.
slide6

RESPONDENTS MAIN ACTIVITY AT THE TIME OF SECOND SURVEY

  • Over 90 % continues to study full-time or part-time.
  • Drop out has remained at the same level than before the reform, about 7 % of the respondents had dropped out.
  • Drop out is either permanent or temporary. 10 % are now studying elsewhere (e.g. vocational institutions).
  • Student work has stayed at the same level if not risen a bit. 56 % of students are working during the academic year. This has no noticeable effect on drop out nor does it delay studies notably.
slide8

EDUCATIONAL PATHWAYS AND TRANSITIONS

  • Excess demand in Finnish HE  difficult to enter, under a third of the applicants are accepted to universities.
  • 17 % of the respondents did not receive their primary study place in 2005  of whom 64 % continued in the same field of study as previously at the time of the 2nd survey.
  • 83 % received their primary study place  of whom 92 % continued as previously at the time of the 2nd survey.
  • Overall 13 % has decided to transfer to another field of study, university or both after 3 years of studies. 8 % are considering the option.
slide10

BACHELOR'S DEGREE AND IT'S COMPLETION

  • 2005 estimates: 82 % will complete the bachelor's degree in the given time limit of three years.
  • At the time of the 2nd survey: 15 % had completed the bachelor's degree. Only 34 % will complete by the fall semester of 2008.
  • Because of flexible transitions delaying bachelor's degree does not often put back master's degree studies possibility to overlap lower and upper university degree studies.
  • Exchange period doesn't significantly delay studies in home university  yet fear of delays are seen as a main obstacle for applying to exchange programmes.
slide11

INTERNATIONALIZATION AND EXCHANGE STUDIES

  • In 2005 a third of the respondents were planning to attend an exchange programme.
  • By the time of the follow up every 10th had taken part in an exchange programme.
  • Decrease in enthusiasm from 2005 to 2008.
  • Obstacles for not attending: family related, economical, fear for delays in studies, poor language skills, work etc.
slide13

INTERNATIONAL MASTER'S DEGREES

  • Ministry of Education's goal: Internationalization and interaction with foreign universities, teachers and students.
  • Students are encouraged to complete the upper university degree entirely in a foreign university.
  • 6 % had already applied or started international studies by the time of the 2nd survey.
  • 9 % in total reported to be very interested in the matter in 2008.
slide14

PLANS AFTER THE BACHELOR'S DEGREE

  • Ministry of education's aims:
  • to make more flexible study paths
  • to create labour market niche for the lower university degree graduates
  • About 70 % will continue in the chosen study programme.
  • Nearly a fifth are thinking about changing a field of study.
  • Only 4 % considers entering the labour market.
  • TRADITIONAL STUDY PATHS
slide15

PLANS AFTER THE

BACHELOR'S DEGREE

slide16

SUMMARY

  • The new degree system hasn't quite sank in
  •  student seek traditional study paths.
  • Bachelor's degree is still seen as an intermediate phase
  •  students move straight to master's degree studies and mostly in the same field of study as the bachelor's degree.
  • Transfers between major subjects and study fields still cause delays
  •  inflexibility has somewhat remained.
  • Attrition has stayed at the same level.
  • Internationalization has increased somewhat.
  • Employment after the bachelor's degree doesn't seem tempting.
    • Master's degree is the first option for the most