NHH views its position in the sector as that of a national flagship.
NHH will remain an independent institution
Because NHH is a high-quality, specialised institution with a strong academic environment, it will remain independent in the future, according to the Government's White Paper on the structure of higher education.
"I'm pleased that NHH will continue to be an independent institution. This shows that the Ministry of Education and Research is confident that we can deliver teaching and research of the highest quality in our present form. The Government's decision means that we can concentrate on doing precisely that. We will do everything to show ourselves worthy of this trust," said the NHH Rector Frøystein Gjesdal.
Goal: Better quality
The White Paper proposes merging fourteen university colleges and universities into five (see map). The Government believes this will help to achieve the main goal of the reform: better quality in higher education and research.
A number of universities and university colleges will continue as they are today. This applies primarily to large institutions that can ensure high quality and strong academic environments on their own. In addition to NHH, the list includes Bergen University College, the University of Oslo, the University of Agder, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a number of other institutions.
The rationale for the reform is that the current structure of the higher education sector is unsuitable to meet future challenges. Norway has too many small, vulnerable academic environments and too many small, scattered courses with insufficient recruitment. For this reason, the Government now proposes a structural reform in order to achieve high-quality education and research, robust academic environments and good access to education and competence across the country.
The Government has evaluated the results of universities and university colleges in a number of areas. These results form the basis for assessing whether they can continue on their own. The following areas have been considered:
- the number of FTEs in higher academic positions, i.e. with a doctoral degree or equivalent
- the number of applicants in relation to places available on courses
- the number of students who complete courses in the prescribed time
- use of time by students
- publication of new research
- external funding for research
- size of doctoral programmes
- international cooperation
- interaction with society (e.g. contract research and commercial use of research)
The Government does not stipulate a minimum requirement for satisfactory quality in the various criteria, but they form part of an overall assessment.
Input from NHH
The main points in the input provided by NHH to the consultation in autumn 2014 were:
- NHH views its position in the sector as that of a national flagship.
- By maintaining its position as an independent national institution, NHH will ensure a continued strong focus on quality within the fields of economics and business administration.
- In order for NHH to attain its strategic goal for 2020 to be a leading European business school with study programmes that are attractive both nationally and internationally, and with an internationally recognised research environment, NHH should focus on achieving greater and more binding cooperation with other CEMS institutions and leading international research environments.
- Regionally-based mergers are considered to have few benefits and may involve a significant risk for NHH.
- Increased research collaboration with the University of Bergen and the planned clusters in the region will strengthen all academic environments regardless of institution.
- Discipline-based cooperation and mergers could lead to an overall national quality improvement in the field of economics and business administration.
- NHH may be open to structural solutions which imply that NHH accepts more master students in Economics and Business Administration in future, but this needs to be explored further.
New management model
The Government believes that an external Chair of the Board and an appointed Rector will best promote recruitment of the most highly qualified management team and will advocate this as the main management model.
The White Paper will be presented to the King in Cabinet on Friday 27 March 2015.