Tampere higher education students’ open letter to budget negotiators

We higher education students of Tampere have sent an open letter concerning the budget negotiations to Prime Minister Antti Rinne, Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä, Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen, Chair of Education and Culture Committee, and the 19 Members of Parliament of Pirkanmaa.

Open letter to budget negotiators

We students demand that You secure the core funding of the institutions of higher education by guaranteeing the €40 + 20 million general budget increase. If this is not done, the result will be a decrease in the quality of degrees and an increase in the number of mental health problems.

During the 2010s, over €300 million has been cut off the higher education institutions’ funding, which has manifested itself in the form of making staff redundant especially within study support services. Since 2012, over 15% of teaching staff has been reduced in  Universities of Applied Sciences alone. In students’ lives, the budget cuts are visible in the decrease of contact teaching, the slowing down of assessments and the scantiness of guidance services.

Because of the support services budget cuts, the teaching and research staff have been burdened with administrative responsibilities alongside of their principle duties. This is a total waste of resources. Strained employees are rushed and unwell, which is reflected on students as well. According to the Finnish Student Health Survey 2016, the number of students’ mental health problems has dramatically increased during the 21st century. By investing in well-being, we can reverse this type of development, support the finishing of one’s studies and secure the welfare of ability to work.

The successful everyday life of higher education institutions is guaranteed with a sufficient core funding. The foundations of the activities must be solid so that the higher education institutions can both produce high-quality degrees alongside top-level international research and achieve those aims of the higher education vision that have been agreed upon together.  The reform of continuous learning, the cutting of the congestion of applicants and the network-like education crossing the institutional boundaries can all be reached if the budget negotiations produce forward-looking decisions.

On behalf of Tampere higher education students,

Paula Sajaniemi
Chair of Executive Board
Student Union of Tampere

Anna Laurila
Chairperson of the Board
The Students’ Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences