The overall conclusion from the reviewers from UKÄ is that the education at LiU maintains a consistently high quality. Of the six subjects studied, they point to areas of improvement for only one: teachers of Swedish for Grades 7-9.
Teacher education for teachers of Swedish is something of a black sheep in institutions of higher education. Only two of seven received unqualified approval in the UKÄ evaluation.
UKÄ also points out that teacher education for teachers of maths is, in general, deficient.
But not at LiU.
The university has the only programme in Sweden for teachers of maths for Grades 7-9 that was approved and assessed as high quality. The programme at LiU for teachers of maths at upper secondary level was also assessed to be of high quality.
Photo credit Anton Kurkkio“It’s extremely gratifying that yet another programme in teacher education at LiU receives such a positive review from UKÄ. And this time the review is for the very extensive teacher education programmes, where LiU has one of the widest ranges of subjects on offer in Sweden, for both Grades 7-9 and upper secondary teaching. Only one or two other institutions of higher education have comparable results”, says Jörgen Nissen, dean of Educational Sciences.
“The UKÄ reviewed degree-awarding powers before the new teacher education programmes were introduced in 2011. At the time, LiU was the only institution of higher education which had all its applications approved, and our programmes in teacher education have continued to do exceptionally well in the UKÄ reviews.”
He continues: “I think it’s great that we manage to maintain this high quality, particularly when you consider that we offer the most complete range of teacher education in Sweden, and that we have in recent years followed requests from the government to expand teacher education. All of the teachers who work in our programmes of teacher education at LiU conduct incredibly impressive work.”
The review by the Higher Education Authority has been extensive. 103 courses in subject-specific knowledge at 21 institutions of higher education have been assessed on several criteria, such as the design of the course, students’ views, and collaboration with working life.
This is the first time ever that deficiencies have been noted in a LiU programme, the one for teachers of Swedish for Grades 7-9.
“One of the strengths of the university is its expertise in subject-specific didactics, both in research and in education”, write the reviewers in their summary, and then continue to explain the grounds for the criticism they raise:
“Areas for development are that research with a subject-specific focus is not carried out, and that few with docent qualifications and few professors carry out teaching. The university should also carry out research focussed on Grades 7–9 in order to develop an environment that is relevant in a concrete way for the students who are intending to teach this age group.”
“Well, it’s difficult to understand how UKÄ has reasoned, but we will, of course, continue our work to improve, based on the points of view we have received. My confidence in the future is, however, unshaken – there’s no need for anyone to feel anxious. LiU will continue to offer a wide range of subjects, including for teachers of Swedish for Grades 7-9, with high quality”, says Jörgen Nissen in reply to the UKÄ review.
Of the 103 programmes that were reviewed, nearly half were the subject of criticism on one or several points. The institutions of higher education must correct the deficiencies identified within one year.
Translated by George Farrants