Time for a more merciful education policy

Students are constantly being demanded to do more, better and more efficiently. University studies should already be taken in upper secondary education. The transfer from upper secondary school to university should be done as soon as possible. University degree should be achieved at the target time, but in addition to full time studying, one should also become more international and go to study exchange, gain relevant work experience and be an active member of society. In the spirit of lifelong learning, competence should be supplemented all the time, whilst working full-time. No wonder students are exhausted

Raising the level of education and competence has been one of the stated goals of the current government. However, it is worth considering, how well current education policy has contributed to this. Sure, some steps to achieve the goal mentioned above have been taken in this government term: the intake for higher education for new students has been raised, compulsory education attendance has been extended to 18-year-olds, and the Education Policy Report as well as the accessibility plan for higher education have been drawn up. These are steps in the right direction. However, these measures will not help to raise the level of competence if more and more students are tired in the crossfire of different demands.

Attention needs to be paid to what kind of competence education is actually producing: do students even have the opportunity for in-depth learning and reflection on what they have learned, or should knowledge be internalized as quickly as possible. When the focus is only on the number of credits and degrees completed, the dimension of self-cultivation in education is easily overshadowed. This, if anything, is a threat to the level of competence.

We need education policy that takes into account people’s intellectual resources and well-being. We need education policy that allows students to focus on studying and developing their skills in peace. And most of all we need education policy that gives people time to think, change direction, change fields, and enjoy studying and learning something new. It is time for more merciful education policy.

– Jenna Rantanen, Specialist in Educational Affairs and International Affairs