Important political breakthroughs made in spring 2021
-This spring Tekna’s made several important political breakthroughs in areas including the workplace, competency, technology and sustainability, says outgoing Tekna president Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg.
Tekna has weighed in at 36 Parliamentary hearings this spring. Here are our most important political breakthroughs:
Right to unemployment compensation during schooling
The temporary plan that was implemented in spring 2020 will now by replaced by a permanent one starting on 1 October 2021. This is an important breakthrough for Tekna, which has been working for individuals’ right to receive unemployment compensation while pursuing education all the way back to the oil crisis of 2015. We’re continuing to work towards removing restrictions concerning age limits, academic progression, length of study as well as the requirement to be an active job seeker.
College and university sector
In 2020 Tekna made a breakthrough with respect to examining how the college and university sector is financed. The political parties that might assume political power this fall have now given their support to Tekna on two important points:
- The financial system for public colleges and universities must be changed so that the institutions’ mission to develop their continuing education programs is included in their basic financing scheme and mission statement.
- Changes made to regulations on deductibles must not erode the free principle in higher education or undermine the goal of guaranteeing lifelong learning for everyone.
Through its membership in Akademikerne, Tekna contributed actively to the work being done by the Employment Committee. The most important breakthrough there was keeping the compensation awarded in cases of illness at its current level.
IT security and competency
Tekna got IT security competency put on the agenda once more when the Parliamentary report on societal security was debated in Parliament. The Tekna president has also participated in several debates on this topic, including one on current challenges in the Norwegian police force. The parties that might assume governmental power this fall followed up Tekna’s input about the need for a statement concerning
1) how the National Strategy for Digital Security Competency has been followed up,
2) how many IT courses have been created and number of admissions granted, and
3) how many research fellowships have been created in the IT field of study.
Tekna has helped raise consciousness levels about the need for more specialized IT skills through its report entitled, «Norway is losing due to a lack of IT competency», which was written along with other related organizations and submitted to the Prime Minister in January.
Several Tekna breakthroughs in the Parliamentary report on data as a resource, or data-driven economics, a topic which has been debated in Parliament this year and includes Tekna’s input on data capture and sharing, open APIs, searchability and availability, data-drive platform companies, regulatory sandboxes, competency and infrastructure.
An additional amount of NOK 100 million for broadband networks was included in the revised national budget. Tekna’s view is that new goals must be set with regard to capacity and coverage of high-speed networks in upcoming Parliamentary sessions so that Norway will be at the forefront of digital-social transformation. These goals must also be accompanied by predictable economic support schemes in the national budget. This is why we’ve spoken up about the need for making this investment until 2025.
Relief package for students
At the end of January 2021, the government passed a relief package of over NOK 1 billion for higher education students, of which just under NOK 80 million was set aside for student organizations’ low-threshold services and other work done to support students’ mental health. These are two important causes that Tekna Student has been working with throughout the pandemic. We also achieved a breakthrough for creating a follow-up survey for the Student Health and Welfare Survey (SHoT), which was administered during spring 2021.
No COVID certificate in workplaces
Tekna’s input about a proposed introduction of a COVID certificate was that this certificate should not be applied to workplaces. This input was noted, and the Cabinet emphasized in its proposal to Parliament that it is highly unlikely that this certificate will be used in this manner in the future.
Important breakthroughs internationally
This spring Tekna participated at the general meeting of IndustriALL, helping to make digitalization and sustainability major topics included in the strategic plan that was approved by the assembly. The president also participated in the think tank session and Resolutions and Motions Committee, and through this participation contributed actively to forming both the work program and other resolutions that were later approved at this meeting.