The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) states as part of their strategy that they strive to “integrate an international, intercultural and global dimension in aims, organization and actions”. In fact, 18 % of the students at NMBU and 49 % of the doctorates from NMBU have a foreign citizenship (Norwegian Centre for Research Data, 2015), in addition to the many employees (incl. postdocs and researchers) that come from an international background. Still, in most of NMBU’s departments, courses, boards and committees the main working language is Norwegian. The internationals at NMBU view this as a problem that prevents them from participating in decision-making processes and the working environment at the university.
We strongly suggest that English should be the working language at NMBU. However, if the university decides to keep Norwegian as the working language, we demand that NMBU offers Norwegian courses to all their international students, PhD candidates and employees. Currently, this is a problem because the access to Norwegian courses, especially for PhD students and employees, is restricted. In addition, more than an introductory level course should be available, allowing PhDs and employees to become proficient in the language at a higher level. Actually, a large proportion of PhD candidates stay in Norway after completing their degree and need language skills to work and become integrated into the society. To build upon the good international community that NMBU has today, actions need to be taken to make it easier to learn Norwegian for international students, PhDs and employees. They have a strong desire to learn Norwegian and hope that the leadership at this University can initiate actions in this matter. Here we suggest that NMBU makes room in the budget for Norwegian courses and offers a similar course model to those used at other universities in Norway, for example UiO, UiB, UiS, UiT and NTNU.
We suggest the following actions to improve the international environment at NMBU:
- English as the working language in boards and committees at NMBU, at least summarize in English. Information should always be given in English.
- Norwegian courses at several levels that are open for students, PhDs and employees at NMBU with credit points and final exam (which can be easily found in NMBU course catalogue)
- Lectures should be given in English for master level courses if international students or PhD candidates attend the course
Sign the petition here.