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About the Author

Muusa Kostilainen
Student (journalism, international relations, languages, graphic design) (Tampere, Finland)

Reducing extreme poverty around the world, giving information and promoting human rights is important. I think Dalai Lama was right when he said: "Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life." I'm a thinker, yes, but also it's important to feel. Why in the earth do you always ask, "what do you think", instead of "how do you feel about it"? I also would like to live my life the way Bahá'u'lláh encouraged us to do "Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self."

Post

Born to be FREE

Published 23rd April 2010 - 6 comments - 2981 views -

Free education is the foundation of Finnish society which has enabled equal opportunities for all, regardless of origin.

Thanks to PISA, Finnish schools and school practices have suddenly been brought into the focus of international attention. What most people might not know, is that even if students are performing very well on a theoretical level, there are a lot of depression and frustration in finnish schools. As archiater Risto Pelkonen said in an interview made by magazine Opettaja school has a very important role when it comes to health and growth of a person. It is very important to keep in mind that we're not just some kind of machines that have to be efficient and hard-working, the well-being of students should come first.

The same thing is important if we think about our higher education.



Now we fear that education will no longer be free in Finland, which would change our system totally. It is already very difficult for many students to study when they have to work to gain their living. If you'd have to pay fees, it would no longer be an equal system where everybody has the same possibilities to study.

Higher education has been until now free even for foreigners, but this is already changing. I'm not sure if this is the best thing to do if we want more people to come in Finland, that is already quite a distant place which doesn't really attract that many students from other contries. But of course you can say that maybe it's not fair to give education to other nationalities when they're not paying for it. However, about one thing most of the students in Finland are sure: the education should be free for Finnish students.

According to OECD "Long study times and the lack of labour market signals in the choice of subjects to study could be addressed with the introduction of tuition fees accompanied by a government loan scheme with repayment contingent upon post-graduation income." Now let's see what our politicians say, are they going to do like OECD suggests?

Living costs in Finland are so high that it is already a reality that most of the students have to be working during their studies. Isn't it contradictory, that when they don't want long study times they make us work even more which means that you don't have the time for studying! 

If you're interested in the OECD document, you can find it here.


The National Union of University Students in Finland and the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences organized a demonstration for free education on the 21st of April in Helsinki.
Discussion about free education is heating up in Finland. Parliamentary elections are approaching, and free higher education is something that unites people over party and generational lines.  See the video in national news.

The National Union of University Students in Finland and the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences and their member organizations gathered for a mass demonstration to say: Yes to free education and to raise up the benefits of a free education in a cheerful manner.

There has also been discussion about how to organize applying to universities, because for the moment it is very difficult to get in and young highschool graduates have to take exams to get in. Now there has been a suggestion that we would move to a system where it would be possible to apply to university with the grades you get when you graduate from Highschool. This system is in use in many other European countries, for example in France.


We should not give up when we still have the right for a free education. I believe that it would be a good idea for many other countries to follow our system, why is it that we will have to follow other countries and their way in everything?! The system seems to be changing, let's hope it will be for the better, not for the worse!


Category: Education | Tags:


Comments

  • Luan Galani on 25th April 2010:

    Muusa, I could not agree more. Finnish education system, besides all the points you highlighted, continues being top notch and, as you said, equality reigns. That is the dream and main goal of most people in Brazil. I hope it can go on in your country. Thanks for that…I’ve really enjoyed it.


  • Daniel on 26th April 2010:

    The same thing is going on in Sweden, and I have been blogging a lot about it lately. The way I see it, it is a way to safeguard privileges for students from the educated classes, students who face much more competition than before in a globalized world.

    Good luck with your fighting over there wink


  • Clare Herbert on 29th April 2010:

    Interesting post. I think it’s also worth acknowledging the QUALITY of the education. Sometimes a free education is a pretty poor one. As always, these things are simple.


  • Daniel Nylin Nilsson on 29th April 2010:

    @Clare How do you mean that they are simple? Free education are sometimes bad, yes, but as I see it the correlation between cost and quality is very low. A similar education in the UK can be three times more expensive than in Germany or the Netherlands, whereas in Finland or Sweden it is for free.

    I think also that while Scandinavian countries with free education are slightly under represented among the intenational top universities, they have a very reliable quality in less famous universities, compared to e.g. the UK.


  • Luan Galani on 09th September 2010:

    Thanks, Muusa. I will take a look at it at length.


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