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Solutions for accelerating immigrants’ educational paths are sought and supported

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 11.8.2017 10.56
Press release

Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen decided to subsidise the development of immigrant pupils and students’ educational paths and other measures promoting integration by EUR 5.5 million. The funds will be used, among other things, to improve learning outcomes, to develop Nokia’s Bridge Programme into a fast track training option for immigrants with eligibility for higher education, and to organise training that provides immigrants with an official qualification to work as subject teachers and kindergarten teachers.

”At the moment, immigrants have to travel a long path to be able to access education and working life in Finland. Education plays a key role in immigrants’ integration into the Finnish society, and special attention must be paid to their possibilities to acquire the necessary language skills, either in Finnish or Swedish. It is important that we make every effort to make immigrants’ transition to education and working life more flexible and individualised than what it is today,” says Minister Grahn-Laasonen.

Several higher education institutions will carry out projects that seek to promote and accelerate immigrants’ educational paths. For example, Turku University of Applied Sciences will examine possibilities to develop the Bridge Programme, launched by Nokia, into a fast track training option for immigrants with eligibility for higher education. Under the lead of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, preparatory education for immigrants will be further improved, while a project implemented by the University of Jyväskylä is set to create new pathways to university education for immigrants. Karelia University of Applied Sciences will develop digital services to be used for identification of prior learning. The Universities of Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu and Eastern Finland will organise training that provides qualifications for teachers with immigrant background and continuing education for teachers working with immigrants.

Funding was also granted to projects that seek to develop early childhood education and care and other education organised by municipalities with the aim of improving the learning outcomes of pupils with immigrant background. Furthermore, club activities within early childhood education and care, instruction in Finnish/Swedish as a second language, liberal adult education for immigrants, and language instruction for stay-at-home immigrant parents will be subsidised. 

The National Union of Vocational Students in Finland SAKKI will receive funding for a project that aims to prevent racism and confrontations between different ethnic groups. The project supports and shares the same objectives as the Meaningful in Finland action plan of the Ministry of Education and Culture, which also seeks to prevent racism and hate speech and to promote social inclusion. 

Altogether 27 projects, to be carried out by local authorities, higher education institutions, educational institutions and organisations, will receive funding. The funds come from the state budget adopted by the Parliament for 2017. They contribute to implementing the action plan on integration, adopted by the Government on 3 May 2016, which aims to make educational paths more flexible and individualised. 

Vocational education and training for immigrants has previously been funded with EUR 20 million with the aim of promoting a swift labour market integration of asylum seekers and other persons with immigrant background and to strengthen their education.

- Recipients of funding (in Finnish)


- Heikki Kuutti Uusitalo, Special Adviser to Minister, tel. +358 50 302 8246
- Kirsi Kangaspunta, Director, tel. 0295 3 30136
- training providing teaching qualifications, vocational education and training: 
Ulla-Jill Karlsson, Ministerial Adviser, tel. 02953 3 0141
- early childhood education and care and general education: Anna Mikander, Senior Officer, tel. 0295 3 30213
- liberal adult education and basic education for adults: Annika Bussman, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. 0295 3 30407
- higher education: Pekka Syrjänen, Senior Officer, tel. 0295 3 30416