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Minister of Education Grahn-Laasonen:
Vocational education and training reform approved – the most extensive education reform in decades

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 30.6.2017 13.27 | Published in English on 1.8.2017 at 14.05
Press release

Parliament has approved the new legislation for vocational education and training. The approved vocational education and training reform is the most extensive reform in education legislation in almost twenty years.

- The most extensive education reform of this Government term has now been approved by Parliament. This reform demonstrates that even extensive reforms are possible in the field of education. Although working life has transformed around us, the structures of education have been slow to renew in Finland. The vocational education and training reform will take vocational competence to the new decade and pave the way for a reform of the entire education system, says Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister of Education.

- The vocational education and training reform will strengthen vocational competence in Finland. Personal study paths, broad-based competence and close cooperation with working life are core issues in the reform. This way we can promote students’ access to employment and support smooth transition to further studiers. The reformed vocational education and training meets the rapidly changing competence needs in companies and working life accurately and efficiently,” the Minister says.

- The reform has been drawn up in a challenging economic environment, but it has gained support from a wide range of professionals in the field of education. The reform is significant for students, education providers, working life and businesses alike. I am glad that we can now start to implement the reform together, Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen continues.

The most significant change in the reformed vocational education and training is the way of thinking, which has shifted from a system-centred approach to a competence-based approach. In future, the most important task of vocational education and training will be to provide individualised vocational competence to meet the needs of students and working life.

Individual competence needs can in the future be met flexibly with the help of qualifications, parts of qualifications, education not leading to a qualification and preparatory education. Guided and goal-oriented studying can be implemented flexibly in the learning environments of education institutions, workplaces and digital learning environments.

The reform will increase possibilities to study at workplaces by introducing a new training agreement model. It will also increase the appeal of the already existing apprenticeship training. Competence acquired through training agreements or apprenticeships will be demonstrated in practical work situations.

Teachers and working life experts will together be responsible for the assessment of competence. Students can apply for the education and be accepted when they need it. By increasing working life-based learning methods it is possible to respond to the transformation of working life.

The new funding model encourages education providers to improve the effectiveness and quality of education. Funding encourages them to reduce discontinuation of studies and recognise prior learning efficiently. The freedom given to education providers in the provision of education increases with the new licence to organise education. A funding reform responds to the implementation of the education guarantee and the need to reduce discontinuation of studies.

- The reform of vocational education and training prevents social exclusion, as individualisation makes studies smoother and education providers have a clear incentive to take care of their students. More tools are now available. The aim is to have every young person complete at least a secondary qualification, says Grahn-Laasonen.

Parliament heard a large number of experts. The most significant issues during the parliamentary debate were the planning and implementation of individualised study paths, safeguarding the instruction and guidance required by the student, the capacities for studying taking place at workplaces, the predictability of the funding model and the encouragement provided by it.

The new Act will enter into force on 1 January 2018. Parliament requires that the Ministry of Education and Culture support and monitor the implementation of the reform. In particular, it is necessary to monitor the impact of the reform on the regional availability and linguistic accessibility of education, discontinuation of studies and the implementation of the education guarantee, and ensure that the number of places for apprenticeship training and training agreement increases according to the goals of the reform. If any need for changes is found in the Act, the Government must submit the proposed changes to Parliament for consideration.

Further information:
– Henrik Vuornos, Special Adviser, tel. +358 44 253 4444
– Mika Tammilehto, Director General, tel. +358 295 330 308

Key projects and reforms Sanni Grahn-Laasonen Vocational education and training norminpurku