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Preparation of accessibility plan for higher education commences

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 26.6.2020 11.49 | Published in English on 2.9.2020 at 11.21
Press release

The Ministry of Education and Culture is starting to prepare an accessibility plan for higher education. The Government Programme includes the preparation of an accessibility plan. The plan will examine accessibility in higher education from the perspectives of socio-economic status, regions, gender, immigrant background, ethnic groups, language groups and people with disabilities.

- Everyone deserves the opportunity to educate themselves as far as they want to and are able to, no matter what their family background, place of residence or other background factors are. This is about people’s right to learn, and the society as a whole is stronger when everyone can contribute to building a better world,” says Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen.

The accessibility plan examines the different steps in the educational pathway all the way from applying to an institution higher education to moving into working life. The preparation work will also take into account the reform of continuous learning and the report on education policy. On 26 June 2020, the Ministry of Education and Culture appointed a steering group, a scientific panel and a rapporteur to prepare the plan.

Professor Laura Kolbe will act as the chairperson of the steering group. The group’s objective is to guide the preparation of the accessibility plan.

As outlined in the Government Programme, the accessibility plan will be formulated with the help of research-based knowledge. To this end, a scientific panel will support the steering group and the rapporteur. In addition, the expertise of stakeholders will be widely used in the preparation work.

Tapio Kosunen, Senior Specialist (Ministry of Education and Culture), will act as the rapporteur between 1 September 2019 and 31 July 2021. His task will be to produce a description of equality in higher education, including any obstacles that under-represented groups have to face, and all the best practices. On the basis of this situation picture, the rapporteur will prepare a proposal for improving accessibility and give recommendations for any necessary measures.

The term of the steering group and the scientific panel is from 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021. The report is due to be completed by the end of 2021.

The aim is that higher education institutions would prepare their own accessibility plans on the basis of these guidelines. The plans could be included in the institutions’ statutory equality and non-discrimination plans, for example. In addition, the accessibility plan will hopefully support both reporting on education policy and making political decisions.

The preparation of the plan is based on the Government Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government. The Government Programme’s strategic theme “Finland that promotes competence, education, culture and innovation” aims to raise the level of education and competence at all levels of education, decrease differences in educational achievement and increase educational equality.

Information on the project: Accessibility plan for higher education

Eeva Kärkkäinen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 401 492 201
Tapio Kosunen, Director-General, Rapporteur, tel. +358 295 330 440

Hanna Kosonen Higher education and research