Browsing by Subject "koulutuspolitiikka"

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  • Kauko, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The study scrutinizes the dynamics of the Finnish higher education political system. Dynamics is understood as the regularity of interaction between actors. By actors is meant the central institutions in the system. The theoretical framework of the study draws on earlier research in political science and higher education political studies. The theoretical model for analysis is built on agenda-setting theories. The theoretical model separates two dimensions of dynamics, namely the political situation and political possibilities. A political situation can be either favourable or contradictory to change. If the institutional framework within the higher education system is not compatible with the external factors of the system, the political situation is contradictory to change. To change the situation into a favourable one, one needs either to change the institutional structure or wait for external factors to change. Then again, the political possibilities can be either settled or politicized. Politicization means that new possibilities for action are found. Settled possibilities refer to routine actions performed according to old practices. The research tasks based on the theoretical model are: 1. To empirically analyse the political situation and the possibilities from the actors point of view. 2. To theoretically construct and empirically test a model for analysis of dynamics in the Finnish higher education politics. The research material consists of 25 thematic interviews with key persons in the higher education political system in 2008. In addition, there are also documents from different actors since the 1980s and statistical data. The material is analysed in four phases. In the first phase the emphasis is on trying to understand the interviewees and actors points of view. In the second phase the different types of research material are related to each other. In the third phase the findings are related to the theoretical model, which is constructed over the course of the analysis. In the fourth phase the interpretation is tested. The research distinguishes three historical periods in the Finnish higher education system and focuses on the last one. This is the era of the complex system beginning in the 1980s 1990s. Based on the interviews, four policy threads are identified and analysed in their historical context. Each of the policy threads represents one of the four possible dynamics identified in the theoretical model. The research policy thread functions according to reform dynamics. A coalition of innovation politics is able to use the politicized possibilities due to the political situation created by the conception of the national innovation system. The regional policy thread is in a gridlock dynamics. The combination of a political system based on provincial representation, a regional higher education institutional framework and outside pressure to streamline the higher education structure created a contradictory political situation. Because of this situation, the politicized possibilities in the so-called "regional development plan" do not have much effect. In the international policy thread, a consensual change dynamics is found. Through changes in the institutional framework, the higher education political system is moulded into a favourable situation. However, the possibilities are settled: a pragmatic national gaze prevailed. A dynamics of friction is found in the governance policy thread. A political situation where political-strategic and budgetary decision-making are separated is not favourable for change. In addition, as governance policy functions according to settled possibilities, the situation seems unchangeable. There are five central findings. First, the dynamics are different depending on the policy thread under scrutiny. Second, the settled possibilities in a policy thread seemed to influence other threads the most. Third, dynamics are much related to changes external to the higher education political system, the changing positions of the actors in different policy threads and the unexpected nature of the dynamics. Fourth, it is fruitful to analyse the dynamics with the theoretical model. Fifth, but only hypothetically and thus left for further research, it seems that the Finnish higher education politics is reactive and weak at politicization.