Kristina Persson is a former member of the Mid Sweden University Board and the former County Governor of Jämtland, and she was involved in the work to achieve full university status. Today, she is a member of the Swedish Government as the Minister for Strategic Development, among other things. She identifies both higher education and research as determining factors for Sweden’s future successes and challenges.
– One cannot sufficiently emphasize the importance of education and research, not least to economic growth. An increasing number of people will need higher education and more people need access to it. So says the Swedish Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation, Kristina Persson (S).
– They are necessary in order for us to be able to assert ourselves. More and more jobs require higher education and more people will change jobs more frequently. That is why lifelong learning will be of greater significance. The research is very important for the companies’ ability to compete, but also for the quality of education, says Kristina Persson.
– There are several great challenges that the Swedish universities and university colleges will have to face in the future. Among other things, Kristina Persson indicates equality in the world of higher education as an issue in need of progress. Another issue is to ensure that the refugees that come to Sweden will have opportunities to complete a higher education in order to establish in our society.
– Furthermore, it is still a fact that the parents’ backgrounds play a role in deciding who will study at university. We want to get away from that; it is the abilities of the individual that should be decisive, not who their parents are, says Kristina Persson.
To build strong universities for the future is not just important for the prosperity of the country, but also for the regions. So what significance can one expect Mid Sweden University to hold for the future of Jämtland and Västernorrland?
– Mid Sweden University plays an important role in the competence maintenance of the region and it is especially important to those who choose to continue their education later in life, says Kristina Persson.
The need for collaborations that reach across the boundaries of science and between social actors will also become more crucial, if great societal challenges are to be met. The importance of collaboration is also something that Kristina Persson wants to highlight.
– I would like to see Mid Sweden University direct more efforts outwards, into company development, entrepreneurial initiatives and an even clearer interplay between politics, academy, civil society and trade and industry. The university would be strengthened by an increased support from the surrounding world, says Kristina Persson.
What is your best advice for the future development of Mid Sweden University?
– To develop some research areas where it is possible to become internationally prominent. Application provides knowledge – connect the programmes and courses with the surrounding society, and make sure to engage and nurture entrepreneurial researchers, Kristina Persson concludes.