“STEM subjects in universities and university colleges are characterised by classes that are heavy on theory, given in overfilled lecture theatres. At present, STEM subjects requiring extensive equipment fall into the same funding category as courses without the same needs for equipment. This has resulted in situations in which because of a lack of infrastructure some students have had to get up in the middle of the night to get laboratory time.
The Studiebarometer survey reveals that engineering students are not inspired by their tuition and are amongst the students that are least satisfied with their study programmes. We need to take this situation seriously,” says Tekna Student chief Karen Ane F. Skjennum.
A cause for concern for wider society
She believes that this failure to prioritise STEM subjects should be a cause for concern for wider society.
“It is cheaper to teach 200 technology students in a lecture theatre than it is to give them with access to laboratories, cases and other practice. Without sufficient funding, there are few incentives for teaching institutions to provide student-active, costly forms of teaching,” says Skjennum.
As well as theory-heavy instruction with a lack of infrastructure, the situation has been worsened by the difficulty encountered by students in obtaining summer jobs.
Initiated dialogue with NHO
NHO (Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise) has now contacted Tekna Student to initiate a dialogue on the lack of availability of practice for students.
“Tekna Student is very pleased that NHO has contacted us to initiate a dialogue on the subject of practice in higher education. NHO’s 2015 Kompetansebarometer survey found that nine out of 10 companies believe that the quality of higher education is improved by collaboration with business and industry,” says Skjennum.