Nybø demands pedagogical competence in academia
The Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Iselin Nybø (Liberals), will put an end to the notion that teaching is regarded as being of less importance by academia. Requirements are now introduced for educational prowess.
From next autumn, Nybø introduces educational requirements for employment or promotion in teaching and research positions at the country’s universities and colleges.
– We do this both to raise the quality and status of teaching. Today we speak of being «away from doing research» and «the duty to teach» in academia. We must abandon these phrases because teaching is one of the most important tasks that universities and colleges perform, Nybø tells NTB.
– It ought to be «teaching fun!», the Cabinet Minister enthusiastically exclaims.
Requirement for employment
The new requirements imply a minimum of 200 hours of relevant educational training in order to be employed in scientific positions and get a promotion.
– This means that if you are to be employed as an associate professor, you must either have this background or acquire it within two years. And you must possess this competence for further promotion to professor, says Nybø.
She states that the institutions must put a program or course in place to qualify their employees.
Good news for the students
Nybø believes that lecturing in many places must be improved.
– We know that lecturing is the most widely used teaching method and that it has a large potential for improved quality. she says.
She thinks it’s a shame that lecturing is considered as second-rate by academia.
– I understand that a lot of people enter academia because they are very excited about their research, but their duty to teach is as important. Therefore, I think that the measure we are implementing is of great importance, Nybø goes on to say.
– I believe this is good news for the students, who are dependent on first-rate education in order to develop, Nybø concludes.
The Leader of the Norwegian Student’s Organization, Håkon Randgaard Mikalsen, regards the proposal as a step in the right direction but believes more must be done to equalise teaching and research competence in academia.
– it will still be research that ranks the candidates at the time of employment. This means that when you prioritise your time, you will be more likely to use it on research than to do something extra in order to improve your lecturing skills, says Mikalsen.
The regulation states that candidates are to be assessed, but not ranked, on their lecturing skills.
– We believe research and teaching must be regarded as equally important, and that teaching skills, therefore, should count in the ranking of the candidates, Mikalsen continues.
He says an increased focus on academic competence in academia is a matter Norwegian student organisation has been concerned with for a long time.
– There are very few things that are more demotivating for a student than a lecturer who does not have the competence to educate, says Mikalsen.
He says student surveys show that Norwegian students are satisfied with teaching on average, but miss close contact with the professional environment, paired with varied and active teaching methods.
– Today the most widely used form of teaching is large lectures with lots of students and minimal contact between lecturer and student. It is well documented that it is a form of teaching that is not best for suited for learning, says Mikalsen.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today