What do we actually mean by the quality of education or research? As an educational institution, we are reviewed by many different parties, from the Ministry of Education and Research to our own students in the form of evaluations. Faced with concepts such as quality evaluations, quality development and quality systems, we need to stop and reflect on what good quality actually is. In my view, the most important thing of all in order to maintain good quality is that our employees are the best and most highly qualified researchers and teachers who dare to take on various challenges within research and teaching. Of course, we must ensure that they have the right conditions to do their jobs.
Our research should be innovative, leading to knowledge and possibly paving the way for new applications that can solve society’s problems. But even research that does not appear to have any application today may form the basis for entirely new areas of research and innovation later on. Universities need to defend the quality of all work, and here I am thinking in particular of the quality of the measurements or observations we carry out. Quality is also closely related to confidence. We need to have confidence in researchers and their freedom to choose research fields based on their interests and curiosity.
So how do we create good quality in education? The most important thing of all is that we prepare our students for their future professional lives. By the time they graduate, they should have sufficient knowledge to take on different roles. Students should also be equipped for lifelong learning, as we live in a rapidly changing world where new knowledge is a perishable and we therefore face challenges that are both complex and global. We must also use the right methods when teaching students – methods that we know are effective and are supported by research.