What do we actually want?

The parliamentary election awaits in April, and speculation/hopes of different government compositions are running wild in various places.

Translation Marko saajanaho

The Koulutuslupaus (Promise for Education) campaign we remember from the 2015 election was quickly forgotten by the governing parties. The measures taken turned out to be a significant disappointment, which has not been forgotten. Depending on whom you ask, there is still plenty of speculation about lists of cuts going on.

The entire educational chain from early childhood education to university education must be present in any discussion regarding the funding for education and science. It is perfectly obvious that if one link in the chain is largely ignored, the result can be seen – immediately or later – in higher education as well. Investing in education and science is especially essential because our reference countries have put in that investment and statistics unambiguously show we are playing catch-up.

Depending on whom you ask, there is still plenty of speculation about lists of cuts going on.

We have also heard plenty of talk about how we should be able to do more with the same amount of (or preferably less) money, and that surely those methods could be tweaked a little. What about digitalisation, does that not save any money at all?

Everything can be questioned, but it is clear that university work is not what it was twenty or even ten years ago. The shift in working life can be seen in university work too. So, what do the Finnish universities and research institutes wish to see from our parliamentary candidates and the parties forming our government?

The shift in working life can be seen in university work too.    

The universities should be able to focus on their core operations with sufficient funding from degree education. In addition, the number of teaching and research staff and corresponding support personnel should meet the ever-growing need. Furthermore, the importance of research in our society cannot be underestimated, which means the Academy of Finland should also receive more research funding and the universities’ core financing should be strengthened.

The RDI legislation coming into effect is a clear positive signal. OAJ’s recent survey polling government policymakers indicated the parties largely agree on the importance of RDI investment and concrete measures being part of the government programme. And here is a tip for the more future-oriented candidates: spending euros on education is an investment that will bear the fruit of wellbeing in the future as well.

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