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From good to excellent results by bolstering equality

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 8.10.2013 9.13
Press release -

The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC 2012) that was published today shows that competencies in Finland are at an excellent level. Ministers Kiuru and Ihalainen are pleased with the results, which reflect the strengths of the Finnish educational system. But they also reveal areas for future improvement.

?Overall Finland fares very well indeed and I am particularly happy about the first-rate competencies of young Finns in all areas of proficiency in the survey. But there is some cause for concern because the results show that education, and hence also competencies, is handed down from one generation to the next. This can be seen in that the participants? educational background and that of their parents? is strongly linked to competencies – those who have a weaker educational background are placed to strive from an unequal position. This also indicates that more work is needed to reach equality in adult education?, observes Minister of Education and Science Krista Kiuru.

The fact that young age groups ranked among the best in the world is an important signal to employers. Young people in Finland are competent labour force, and by tapping into competence-oriented business activities there is great potential for growth in Finland.

?Besides good occupational skills,Finns are proficient in the processing and management of information and have good skills in learning and collaboration. These are fundamental for securing lasting work careers in today?s fast-changing world, whether it?s about remaining in working life, moving to a new job or a new field of work altogether?, says Minister of Labour Lauri  Ihalainen.

The results of the study help identify the strengths and weaknesses in Finnish society in an international context, so that it is possible to steer decision-making on the basis of research data. A major cause for concern is how weak the competencies of the unemployed are relative to those who are employed. There is the risk that, if unemployment continues, the skills will further deteriorate because they are not being used.

?In the current challenging climate of structural changes in the economy, it is by investing in the competencies of the labour force that we can secure the future. About 40% of the jobless do not have basic occupational qualifications. The three-day right to education and the programme designed for improving young adults? skills are actions the Government has already taken to address the problem. However, it?s clear that stronger measures are needed, especially to slash the number of adults with a poor level of competence. We need to devise new and more powerful tools for this purpose?, the ministers observe.

- Esa Suominen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Education and Science, tel.+358 43 824 5668
- Olli-Pekka Koljonen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Labour, tel.+358 50 337 4651

Krista Kiuru Lauri Ihalainen