Along with changes taking place in the modern Nordic societies there is a change in values that have constituted a foundation of the development of higher education systems in this part of Europe. The author's intention is to investigate to what extent the traditional values that had evolved within the framework of the peasant and industrial societies have a chance to survive, or have to change, within the knowledge-based post-industrial regime. The paper presents an image of the current societal change and investigates whether we currently witness an evolution or withering away of the traditionally Nordic values in higher education. A particular attention is paid to the changes in the social democratic model of education and research and the emergence of neoliberal elements in it. The changes are illustrated by examples of the transition taking place from industrial to post-industrial society, from collectivism to individualism and from egalitarianism to elitism.
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