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Financial Autonomy and Challenges to Being A Regionally Responsive Higher Education Institution

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This paper discusses some current problems and challenges of the Finnish AMKs (polytechnic institutions), and whether financial autonomy could contribute to finding solutions for some of these problems. It provides an overview of the current status of financial autonomy of polytechnics in 6 European countries, and finally attempts to find links from financial autonomy to the AMKs' role as regional ‘boosters’. The AMKs are still faced with some administrative and cultural traditions related more or less to secondary level vocational institutions. The new Polytechnic Act (2003), 351/2003, guarantees self-governance for the AMKs as regards with their internal issues. At the same time, the Act stipulates that budget power and strategic steering belongs to their public or private maintainers. This raises the question of to what extent institutions actually are autonomous. The essence of autonomy rests on independent decision-making processes. The study shows that the Finnish maintenance system reflects strongly on the area of financial autonomy compared with the similar institutions in other European countries. Financial autonomy may be a factor that strengthens a higher education institution in becoming an organisationally uniform, responsive and flexible entity.

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Kohtamäki, V., Lyytinen, A. Financial Autonomy and Challenges to Being A Regionally Responsive Higher Education Institution. Tertiary Education and Management 10, 319–336 (2004).

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  • High Education
  • European Country
  • Education Research
  • Education Institution
  • High Education Institution