Temporary legislative amendments related to COVID-19 will continue in basic education, in vocational education and training and in higher education institutions
The temporary amendment to the Basic Education Act makes it possible to switch to exceptional teaching arrangements if it becomes necessary from the viewpoint of the COVID-19 epidemiological situation. This ensures that teaching during the academic year 2021-2022 can be organised safely. The period of validity of the temporary amendments related to vocational skills demonstrations and higher education legislation will also be extended. Following Parliament's approval of the Government's proposals, the President of the Republic approved the laws on Tuesday 29 June.
As a rule, primary and lower secondary education will be organised as contact teaching during the autumn term. Education providers can decide to switch to exceptional teaching arrangements if contact teaching in schools and other places of education cannot be organised safely due to a decision taken under the Communicable Diseases Act.
In such cases, safe learning can be ensured by alternating contact teaching and distance learning, for example by placing groups in distance learning on alternating weeks. Assessments on the safety of contact teaching must be carried out in cooperation with regional authorities responsible for infectious diseases. Students have the right to school meals, support for learning and school attendance and social benefits for students during the exceptional arrangements.
The temporary amendments to the Basic Education Act and the Act on the European School of Helsinki will enter into force on 1 August 2021 and remain in force until 31 July 2022.
Vocational skills demonstrations and higher education institutions
The temporary amendment to the Act on Vocational Education and Training regarding more flexible arrangements for demonstrations will be continued. If, for reasons attributable to the coronavirus epidemic, vocational skills demonstrations and competence demonstrations that are necessary for passing a qualification module cannot be carried out in authentic work situations and processes, students may demonstrate their vocational skills and competence by performing other practical tasks that are as similar to authentic work situations and processes as possible. In addition, the demonstration of skills and competence can be supplemented with other types of competence assessment more flexibly than at present.
The temporary amendments to the Universities Act and the Universities of Applied Sciences Act will also be extended. In higher education institutions, students may register as non-attending students during their first academic year if they are unable to start their studies due to an official regulation related to the COVID-19 epidemic or for other serious reasons related to the epidemic.
If it is not possible to organise studies included in the curriculum due to COVID-19, higher education institutions are not obliged to organise degree programmes and academic advice in such a way that students can complete their degrees within the normative time laid down in law. Delays in study progress due to changes in teaching arrangements are taken into account when making a decision on the extension of the right to study.
The amendments made to the Act on Vocational Education and Training, the Universities Act and the Universities of Applied Sciences Act will enter into force on 1 July 2021. These temporary changes will remain in force until 31 July 2022.
Basic education: Anne-Marie Brisson, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 079
Vocational education and training: Piritta Sirvio, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 238
Higher education: Laura Hansen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 098