Swedish students demand better pedagogy
When student unions in Sweden was asked which question is of most importance to quality of higher education the answer was clear: pedagogy. For several years the Swedish National Union of Students (SFS) has worked to push the debate on quality to also include the aspect of pedagogy.
In connection to our general assembly we arranged a debate on pedagogy with politicians, teachers, students and the head of a university.
In April SFS launched a report about the work of Swedish universities on pedagogy and pedagogical development. One of our findings was that only every second university has guidelines regarding further training to ensure that teachers can develop and strengthen educational abilities throughout their career. While some universities have created systems for assessing and rewarding pedagogical merits many universities still lack basic functions such as a definition of pedagogical competence, the use of pedagogical experts when assessing pedagogical competence, the use of pedagogical portfolios and guidelines for documentation of pedagogical merits. The report also shows that only one third of the universities have extended systems for pedagogical merits that provide career paths for pedagogically skilled teachers.
SFS calls for a holistic approach on pedagogy in higher education and better conditions for pedagogical progress. Our most important demands are:
? Ten week mandatory education in pedagogy for university teachers, and the right
to further pedagogic training for teachers.
? That the government initiates a coordination of the various systems for assessment and rewarding of pedagogical merits.
? That a national authority is assigned the task to support pedagogic research in higher education and to promote pedagogical development at universities.
The report has sparked a lively debate about mandatory education in pedagogy for university teachers. Even though our aim is to strengthen the teaching profession it is evident that many teachers are provoked by our demands. Our current strategy is to keep lobbying and meeting with politicians and important groups to convey our ideas. The news about the report has also been covered by local and national media.