Consultation round for the education policy report, aiming to ensure access to education and educational quality and equality
The Government has prepared a draft report on education policy. The report provides an overview of the current situation in education and research and the target state and necessary measures to reach the target. The draft report has been sent on a broad round of consultations. The report is due to be submitted to Parliament early next year.
The report sets out a vision for education and research extending to the 2040s. It outlines the changes in resources, structures and guidance that will be needed to respond and to influence the factors changing the national and international operating environment, and to create the conditions for a meaningful life for everyone. In 2040, Finland will be a nation with a strong cultural and educational foundation that draws on effective education, research and culture that are all of high quality. Everyone has the right to learn and grow and to receive the support and guidance they need.
The target state presented in the report and the measures needed to achieve it are based on the situation picture in education and research as well as on key factors for changing the education and research environment. Finland's demographic trend is the most significant factor affecting the education system. Finland’s birth rate is dropping, age groups are smaller and people live in growth centres in increasing numbers. The report outlines the guidelines for the future of the Finnish education system under the sharp changes caused by the demographic trends.
Technological advances and structural changes in the world of work are challenging the education system. At the same time, though, education and research and the competence and expertise they bring about will regenerate the Finnish society and the world of work. Finland is a frontrunner in the production, introduction and application of new knowledge and competence.
The report outlines measures to develop legislation, other guidance instruments and structures so that learners - children, young people and adults - can be given better, safer and more equitable learning experiences and more streamlined study paths, irrespective of the place of domicile, family or cultural background or gender.
To safeguard the quality of early childhood education, pre-primary education, and primary and lower secondary education everywhere in Finland, legislative amendments and the reorganisation of funding will be necessary. This will help create a comprehensive learning path for children and make it easier to transition from early childhood education to pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education and eventually to upper secondary education. Education and training services that are equitable, easily available and of high quality improve learning outcomes, wellbeing and the overall growth and development of children and young people.
Equity, equality and quality in secondary education will be strengthened by revamping the practices and structures in education. Equity in upper secondary education will be promoted and the needs of different learners will be supported, for example. The boundaries between general upper secondary education and vocational education and training will be eased to strengthen young people's competence, to respond to changes in the world of work and to improve access to education. Digital solutions will improve access to education. Vocational education and training will be reorganised so that more students can move on to further studies.
In higher education, the aim is for half of the age group to acquire a higher education degree in 2030. Higher education institutions also recruit more students and researchers from abroad to Finland to meet the need for expertise. Finland is the world's leading user and developer of digitalisation within higher education and in continuous learning based on it. The higher education institutions will adopt a shared digital service environment by 2030 based on their common vision. To improve equality, the Government will decide on the objectives and guidelines for measures in the accessibility plan for higher education institutions by the end of 2021.
In the context of research, the implementation of the Roadmap for Research, Development and Innovation is instrumental. The objective is that by 2030, R&D investments will have been raised to four per cent of GDP. Public research funding and the private sector will invest together in knowledge and RDI activities. The implementation of the roadmap will ensure that Finland has a high standard of research that inspires researchers to conduct their research work, including leading-edge international talent.
Policies for the financing of education and training
Based on the draft report, safeguarding equitable education that is free of charge, of high quality and accessible will demand significant investment of public funds into education and research in the future too. A higher level of education and competence can only be achieved with adequate resources for education and research and better allocation of existing resources.
The report proposes that the savings resulting from the smaller age groups could be allocated in the future to boost quality and equality in early childhood education and care and in pre-primary, primary and lower secondary education.
An implementation plan will be drawn up for the education policy report. The implementation will be monitored, including the assessment of sufficient financing needs within the context of preparing the General Government Fiscal Plan.
Broad-based preparation and consultation
The Ministerial Working Group on Competence, Education, Culture and Innovation and, at the Ministry of Education and Culture, both the Minister of Education and Culture and the Minister of Science and Culture with the support of senior public officials all took part in formulating the report. A parliamentary monitoring group was set up on 19 March 2020 to support the work.
The drafting of the report began in autumn 2019, when both ministers visited schools, upper secondary education institutions and higher education institutions to discuss and consult on the current situation and development needs in education and research.
In early 2020, a brainstorming group in the form of an open network was launched for all interested parties, which generated more than four thousand responses.
In the course of preparing the report, representatives of tens of different organisations were consulted in different ways. Discussions were held with individual organisations, discussion events were organised for different actors and the subject was deliberated at various seminars.
The deadline for comments is 22 January 2021. Lausuntopalvelu.fi (service for online consultation)
- Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 182
- Petri Haltia, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 096