Skip to content

Sustainable lifelong learning

Last week I took part in a half-day conference on ‘A sustainable battery value chain – a new export sector’ organised by Fossil Free Sweden. Government agencies, trade organisations, the business community, the academic and political spheres were all represented. I took part in a debate about how we could prevent a lack of skills becoming a bottleneck for the climate transition.
This is a crucial matter for the future.

It is also an area where KTH plays a vital role in the solution. We are continuing to strengthen and evolve our degree programmes to equip students and professionals to better find solutions for society’s challenges.

This is particularly true in lifelong learning, which has grown dramatically in recent years, from the odd course to hundreds of them. Our goal is to further increase the number to around one-fifth of the total volume of our educational offering. The climate transition, digitalisation, electrification and accelerating technological progress all place new demands on people in working life, and particularly on their opportunities for further training and qualifications. Here again, KTH has an important role to play.

From 1 October this year, it is also possible to apply for a ‘transition education grant’ – a generous new grant for professionals enhancing their education. It covers up to one year (44 weeks full time) of study, beginning in January next year.

If KTH is to further increase its offering, lifelong learning must be a well-integrated aspect of all teaching and research. Short-term special initiatives are not sustainable in the long run. They do serve a purpose in initiating change and facilitating development work. Nor is completely separate funding for lifelong learning an option; it has to be part of the standard operation.

It is now time for a more long-term financial solution, one that enables far greater, integral lifelong learning that is sustainable over time. Historically speaking, KTH has produced more education than we have been paid for. Technically, we exceeded the maximum funding amount – and we did this even when lifelong learning was only a small part of the whole.

One desirable long-term solution is to raise the maximum funding amount. Another is to considerably reduce the number of civil engineers, university engineers, architects and teachers we educate.

I’m pretty sure I know which of these two options most people would prefer.