Norwegian Expert Warns of 'Dangerous Trends' in Academia at UIII Forum

July 08, 2024

Contributor: Supriyono | Editor: Dadi Darmadi

Dr. Lena Larsen, Program Director of the Norwegian Center for Human Rights, University of Oslo, Norway, warned early career researchers about the dangerous trends in academia during the 2nd Graduate Forum of the UIII Faculty of Education, held from July 4 to 5, 2024, in collaboration with the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS).

“What we are seeing these days is a dangerous trend. There are two things that I consider as dangerous. First, the ‘mercantilization’ of academia itself,” Dr. Larsen said on the first day of the forum. “It means you are doing your study to obtain something from that degree. You are not focusing on the subject or the process. If you only want to have a diploma, that is not the objective itself,” she elaborated. 

Read also: Prof. Nelly van Doorn-Harder: We Should Not Let the Critics Discourage Us

The second thing, she continued, is to focus on personal gain and self-interest, meaning that if the desire to promote yourself is bigger than the knowledge itself, then this is dangerous. “You see the biggest diamonds, the stars in the sky. It’s the same as in knowledge, they never promote themselves as good scholars. Instead, they build good personal qualities first,” she said. 

Dr. Larsen emphasized that scholarly works is pretty much about doing the right thing. “If you do the right thing, you bring good personal qualities and ethics into it, that’s what will make you strive in academia. Unfortunately, it’s very much forgotten these days in the promotion of materialism of knowledge,” she said. 

Read also: FoE Holds 2nd Graduate Forum on Researching and Publishing

As a faith-based graduate educational institution, UIII aims to train scholars who not only excel in academia but also foster individuals to have a balance between the material world and spiritual orientation, science and religion, and faith and critical thinking, aided by the spirit of the wasatiyya (moderation) values.