A preliminary study completed – the implementation of Digivisio 2030 by higher education institutions reguires changes to legislation

The aim of the joint Digivisio of all Finnish higher education institutions is to make Finland a model country for learner-centered and flexible learning by 2030. In order to achieve this goal, higher education institutions must jointly agree on significant changes to such matters as how teaching is offered, how the learner can select study modules and how the architecture of the underlying information systems is built. Some of these changes may be mutually agreed by higher education institutions, but any restrictions imposed by legislation must also be mapped and, if necessary, changed.

At the end of 2020, the Digivisio 2030 project office launched a study on possible legislative obstacles to the vision. The study started at a stage where the final solutions and systems were largely undefined. Despite this, the study highlighted important themes that must be taken into account as the work progresses and solutions become more detailed.

In the report, it was decided to examine the objectives of Digivisio from eight different perspectives, such as international mobility, data architecture, analytics and the utilisation of data. In addition to extensive perspectives, the learner’s personal data was addressed in more detail. The findings of the study were deepened with an online survey for higher education institutions.

”I will highlight three recurring themes in the report. The first observation is the need for a thorough definition and concrete approach: What is the learner’s personal data, how is it generated and what is it used for? The need to amend the statutes and the higher education institutions’ own regulations cannot otherwise be identified” explains Walter Rydman from CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd, who facilitated the study.

”Another main observation is the satisfactory handling of data protection and information security issues from the start of the project. Data protection and security were considered vital to the success of Digivisio.

Thirdly, Digivisio was seen as driving the higher education field to think more deeply about the role of the right to a degree in 2030. A realistic picture of the future outlined by Digivisio must be built” summarizes Rydman.

The learning ecosystem that Digivisio aims to achieve will not be created without changes in laws and regulations. ”The first phase of the study revealed that many of the changes that are important for the Digivisio objectives can be agreed upon between higher education institutions. However, there are entities that would certainly be good to agree on at national level in the future. One example is the question of the controller of the Learner’s personal data service” says Project Manager Sakari Heikkilä.

”As the division becomes more specific towards concrete solutions and services, they must also be continuously assessed from the perspective of legislation. We must ensure that the learner’s rights and the new processes and ways of doing emerging for the higher education institutions are in line with legislation”, Heikkilä continues.

In addition to the Digivisio 2030 project, other digitalisation and development projects for public services are under way. The needs for legislative changes will also be jointly mapped with them.

Further information

Walter Rydman, Coordinator, CSC -Tieteen tietotekniikan keskus Oy,

Sakari Heikkilä, Project Manager of the Strategic Changes Work Package, Digivisio 2030,