fredag 18 september 2009

Uppsala doesn't have 40000 students

I always thought Uppsala University houses 40000 students. Today, it became clear to me that I have been deceived for the entire duration of my years in Uppsala.

It started with me hanging in the computer room with my friend Kedar. One of his friends in Sydney is checking out Uppsala University as a possible destination for exchange study. Kedar asked me to talk with his friend and tell him more about my home uni, which I did. I was like: "hey, did you know that Uppsala has two universities? The city has 200k inhabitant, and it's the home of 40k students!" and he was like "Wow! That is a quarter, no, 20%!" Kedar was surprised, "Dude, that is twice as many students as Cornell!" To impress him further, I opened a wikipedia site on Uppsala Uni, to my astonishment, the only figure I saw was about 20k. The source of reference? An annual report from the Swedish Higher Education Authority. So there is no doubt about the credibility.

So where does the number 40k come from anyway? If you google with the search key "uppsala universitet 40 tusen", one of the result you get is from the university's home page. In other words, 40000 is what we are taught at school.

In order to figure out why 40k is mentioned in all the available media information, I checked out the number of full-time enrolled students at SLU, the other university in the city of Uppsala. They have about 4000 students. In other words, no matter how you try to manipulate the numbers, you don't get 40000 students in Uppsala, let alone 40000 students in Uppsala University.

The answer gives me another question: why have the Uppsalians always learned about 40000? One of many possible explanations is probably that UU once hosted nearly 40000 students. But now when that is no longer the truth, the school staff never bothered to change the figure to up-to-date. In the end, you can always say that it's about Uppsalian-chauvinism. Being Swedens oldest university, you can always boast yourself by portraying Uppsala as Sweden's Harvard. Now that I consider myself as a Cornellian, I don't feel my pride being injured by the revelation.

2 kommentarer:

  1. I like your attention to details :-)

  2. I'm surprised that it does not take long to convert you from Uppsalian to Cornellian :)