New challenges for cooperation between CRUCH and UNIFI

Chilean and Finnish Rectors met today at FORUM II at the University of Santiago

In order to deepen the exchange and integration of knowledge and culture in Higher Education, Forum II was held today, a meeting between Finnish rectors (UNIFI), Chilean rectors (CRUCH) and the Estonian Rectors Conference (ERC ), as its president, the rector Alar Karis, of the University of Tartu, also attended Forum II. Preceded by a Forum I that was held in April last year in Helsinki, this forum ended with the idea of transforming discussions and reflections on higher education into specific projects.

“It is time to take the next step and transform these speeches into concrete actions. There are several possible areas of cooperation that are made visible, such as teacher training, forestry, mining or engineering, which can be projected in future actions such as seminars, workshops, internships, etc. Now the task is for each of the universities, who will have the key role of identifying mutual areas of interest and establishing cooperation goals. We are all looking for that in our visits to regions we can strengthen this partnership for future actions between the institutions of Cruch and those of Unifi ”, expressed Lisa Savunen, Executive Director of UNIFI at the closing of Forum II.

Her counterpart in Chile, the Executive Director of CRUCH, Teresa Marshall, said she was very satisfied with this possibility that opens up working together, not only with UNIFI but also with the Estonian Rectors Conference (ERC), who represented by its president , Alan Karis, expressed their interest in maintaining collaborations between the three countries. “In this search for new opportunities for collaboration in research and in the academic training of young people entering our universities, we closed Forum II with lessons and challenges, and with the conviction that we will continue working so that each of our institutions have a couple in Finland with whom there are collaborative projects, ”explained Marshall.

One of the topics that received the most discussion and reflection during the day was the topic of teacher training, after the presentation by Professor Aino Sallinen from the University of Jyväskylä, on the experience of Finland. The academic expressed the need that to improve training it was essential to have a general vision of where you want to go and then draw lines of how it is possible to get where you have decided. "Then you have to commit to the decision made and look for the resources to go in the right direction," he concluded.

Among the Chilean rectors and academics, several opinions emerged about what is lacking in Chile to bring us closer to the award-winning Finnish model. The Rector Luis Loyola of the University of Antofagasta referred to the need to improve the quality of the training that we deliver to pedagogues in our country. "We have to have a reinforced human capital in the area of teacher training to be able to make changes and face pedagogy in a different way because we have only one accredited doctoral program in Chile in the area of education," he said.

Likewise, the rector Víctor Cubillos, rector of the Austral University and President of the International Relations Committee of the CRUCH, argued the lack of social value that we give to teachers in Chile. “Here there is a lack of social appreciation from teachers. There are several things that are important to be a teacher and that are often overlooked: having at least a master's degree, salary, improvement in training and social value, among other things because if we do not advance in that, we will not advance in education, ”he explained.

The Finnish rectors after the long day on Monday, will be divided into three groups to carry out three regional visits. A delegation will go to Antofagasta where they will visit the Paranal Observatory and the University of Antofagasta and the Universidad Católica del Norte where they will meet with academics to discuss mining, astronomy and education issues. Another group will be received by the Austral University in Valdivia, where possibilities for academic collaboration will be projected and a third group will travel to Valparaíso, where biotechnology is their priority at the Federico Santa María Technical University and the Catholic University of Valparaíso and in the areas of education and social sciences at the University of Playa Ancha and the University of Valparaíso. 

Back in Santiago they will visit three universities in the metropolitan region: the University of Chile, the Catholic University and the University of Santiago, where they will meet with rectors, deans and students visiting some of their respective faculties. 
The first meeting was held in April last year in the city of Helsinki, where a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between both organizations that established the bases for mutual academic cooperation. At that meeting, the Finns explained in their presentations topics such as educational reform and the internationalization of UNIFI universities, in addition to addressing more global issues such as financing, current trends in higher education, quality assurance and curriculum development.

More information:

Carolina Jiménez M. 
Communications Manager CRUCH
cjimenez@consejoderectores.cl
F: 02- 4268623