A budget without visions

When the Budget Bill  was presented two weeks ago. I was not especially surprised, more like worried. The funding may well have been as expected, but the proposal presented by the government to parliament shows a lack of vision.

According to the proposal, funding for education at both first cycle and second cycle for 2019 has increased slightly. This increase includes previously resolved investments such as the expansion of engineering programs.

When it comes to research and development at researcher level, funding has also been slightly increased such as for an investment in the research area of IT and mobile communications, that was notified in the research proposition published three years ago. It feels good that we can now move forward in the work we are doing with these initiatives.

But having said that, the SULF report from last summer still notes in no uncertain terms that payment for higher education has continuously shrunk and continues to shrink. This is when compared with how much was invested in education in the 1990s.

This is very much at odds with the fact that we face numerous major challenges when it comes to social development that will require educated people along with innovative and in-depth research, not least within KTH’s area.

In a discussion piece, Swedish National Union of Students  show how demands for greater efficiency are forcing cutbacks and vice versa. The so-called productivity funding reveals in no uncertain terms how universities and colleges are viewed, as something more akin to a production line where the employees also don’t need any pay increases. An over reliance on making education more efficient without setting any boundaries is risky.

Naturally, we are continuously working on quality development to maintain and develop attractive learning environments to create the best possible foundation for student education. Having said that, new methods require time and energy, the gradual hollowing out is also adversely affecting this.

Students are students – then as now – with the right to and an equally big need for good lab environments, good teachers and adequate education. Simply the fact that there are more students and we have information technology does not necessarily make everything less expensive. From this aspect, the budget proposal is disturbing for a university that trains the engineers of the future.