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Mapping the Field of Stratification in Higher Education: The Finnish Experience

Osmo Kivinen and Risto Rinne
Higher Education
Vol. 21, No. 4, Policy Change in Higher Education (Jun., 1991), pp. 521-549
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3447238
Page Count: 29
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Mapping the Field of Stratification in Higher Education: The Finnish Experience
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Abstract

In formal terms, Finland has a comprehensive higher education system. There are 20 institutions of higher education in the country, all owned by the state, and one of the central objectives in higher education policy has been to establish all of them on an equal footing in terms of basic resources and status. Not until the 1990s has a shift taken place towards the official injection of a competitive element into higher education policy. During recent decades, the state's grip on the steering of the universities has been tightening; but the shift towards increased competition means a shift towards domination by market forces. This article examines both the changing tasks of the university, and the fact, despite the egalitarianism of official 'democratic' higher education policy, of stratification. The aim of the article is to analyze the diversification linked to the selection function of the Finnish higher education system, and thus to create a basis for the investigation of changing higher education policy.

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