Medical campus at the University of Tampere (Image: Lehtikuva)

DR. JOY HONEA, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF BILLINGS UNIVERSITY IN MONTANA, has received a Fulbright Scholarship to move to Finland in order to learn from the country’s acclaimed suicide prevention strategies.

The highly-competitive scholarship, which has produced dozens of Nobel Prize winners, is a state-funded initiative which aims to “encourage innovation in order to improve society”. Dr. Honea will be relocating from Montana to the University of Tampere in July 2020, where she will spend several months researching how Finland was able to bring down its once world-leading suicide rates. 

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(Image: Lehtikuva)

THE TOWN OF LAITILA IN SOUTHWEST FINLAND has announced that a curfew for school-age minors will be introduced in full, following months of consultation and media attention over the controversial policy.

The curfew has been described by members of the local government as “unofficial” and “informal”, meaning that although a curfew for young people will be in place, it is not legally enforceable. This is because it was determined that a curfew enforced by law and police action would lack legal grounds and possibly be in violation of human rights law. 

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Montessori schools are institutions that subscribe to the “Montessori method” of education, a progressive approach to children’s learning that has been in use for over a century. The method sees children as independent and intrinsically thirsty for knowledge, with its unconventional learning model being characterized by student autonomy, freedom of movement in the classroom, independent learning, and mixed-age classrooms. 

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“If you are admitted at the age of 18 to the University of Helsinki, […] your average grade in the first three years is irrelevant,” says Mikko Kiesiläinen, the managing director of Libera Foundation.
“If you are admitted at the age of 18 to the University of Helsinki, […] your average grade in the first three years is irrelevant,” says Mikko Kiesiläinen, the managing director of Libera Foundation.

 

Libera Foundation has tabled five proposals to fix the higher education system in Finland.

Mikko Kiesiläinen, the managing director of the right-leaning think tank, claims that many of the reforms the country has implemented since the turn of the millennium have not been in compliance with the Bologna Process, a series of agreements to ensure the comparability of higher-education qualifications across Europe.

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Mermaid scholars in action at Maija Möttönen's class in Espoo

The alternative sports trend and social media craze ‘Mermaiding’ has made its way to Finland, with qualified ‘mermaid instructors’ now teaching classes in Helsinki and Espoo.

The sport, which is believed to have first gained prominence in the United States earlier this year, consists of swimming with the aid of a mermaid tail, allowing the user to move like a fish. 

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Antigym® or Antigymastique® is a body work method developed by French physiotherapist Thérèse Bertherat in the 1970s. Its popularity has spread outside of France as Antigym practitioners have brought the method across the world, particularly to South America and Europe. Helsinki Times spoke to trained Antigym practitioner, Sonu Manglani, about the method after one of her classes. 

THE CLASS takes place in a bright, well-lit room. We begin by standing on our mats, rotating our knees in and out to get a feel of the way different parts of our body are connected to one another. Sonu gives instructions and asks questions as we move through each subtle movement slowly.

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A citizens’ initiative for guaranteeing free access to upper-secondary education has received the 50,000 statements of support required for presenting it to the Parliament.
A citizens’ initiative for guaranteeing free access to upper-secondary education has received the 50,000 statements of support required for presenting it to the Parliament.

 

Student unions have voiced their delight with the fact that a citizens’ initiative for guaranteeing free access to upper-secondary education has received the 50,000 statements of support required to present it to the Finnish Parliament.

While vocational and general upper-secondary education is free in Finland, students and their families typically have to pay for textbooks and other class materials out of their own pockets.

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Winners of this year's Yidan Prize Prof. Anant Agarwal (right), Prof. Larry V. Hedges (middle) being interviewed by moderator Tom Blackwell of EM Communications

 

THE 2018 YIDAN PRIZE was awarded to winners during a gala event followed by the Yidan Prize Summit in Hong Kong on the 10th of December. The Prize which was being awarded for the second year has been founded by Dr. Charles Chen Yidan in 2016. 

This year’s winners are Professor Larry V. Hedges of Northwestern University and Professor Anant Agarwal of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Larry Hedges is the Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics and Education and Social Policy, Professor of Psychology and Professor of Medical Social Sciences at the Northwestern University in Chicago.

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Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP) in a press conference about the start of the school year in Helsinki on 2 August 2018.
Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP) in a press conference about the start of the school year in Helsinki on 2 August 2018.

 

The Finnish government will launch new pilot projects to reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational materials in vocational and general upper-secondary education.

Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education, revealed last week that a total of four million euros has been allocated for the projects, half of which will be disbursed to vocational and the other half to general upper-secondary education institutions.

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Student caps and matriculation examination certificates on the laps of graduates during a matriculation ceremony at the Normal Lyceum of Helsinki on 30 May, 2015.
Student caps and matriculation examination certificates on the laps of graduates during a matriculation ceremony at the Normal Lyceum of Helsinki on 30 May, 2015.

 

President Sauli Niinistö revealed that he is concerned about the soaring prices of textbooks in secondary education while giving a guest lecture at the University of Turku on Tuesday.

Niinistö pointed out that the recent adoption of new textbooks has increased the costs of secondary education in Finland, possibly to the extent that it is restricting the ability of individuals to pursue an education.

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Clockwise from top, Elizabeth, Ben, Sofia and Scot are student ambassadors for Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

“This place can take you anywhere”: Four Students on Why They Chose Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

WITH JOINT APPLICATIONS just around the corner, tens of thousands of people are now feverishly trawling through websites and brochures in an attempt to make the most important decision of their career. 

This year, a record number of students will be entering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral education, including thousands of international students representing hundreds of countries. A majority of those students will be conducting their studies here in Helsinki, which is home to most of the top-ranked institutions in the country. 

One of those institutions is the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, established in 2008, the largest UAS in Finland,  now boasting over 16,000 students, 1500 of them with international background, representing 90 nationalities.  

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Olli Luukkainen, the chairperson of the Finnish Trade Union of Education (OAJ), believes all children should take part in pre-primary education for two years instead of one before the start of compulsory basic education.
Olli Luukkainen, the chairperson of the Finnish Trade Union of Education (OAJ), believes all children should take part in pre-primary education for two years instead of one before the start of compulsory basic education.

 

The Finnish Trade Union of Education (OAJ) demands that the scope of pre-primary education be expanded by a year to also include five-year-old children.

“The society is increasingly aware of the significance of high-quality early-childhood and pre-primary education for the educational path of children. OAJ’s next objective is to have all five-year-olds participate in pre-primary education and have the change laid out in the next government programme,” declares Olli Luukkainen, the chairperson of OAJ.

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Teachers have not been offered enough training opportunities to help them adapt to the emphasis placed on digital learning in the new core curriculum, says Jari Salminen, a researcher of educational history at the University of Helsinki.
Teachers have not been offered enough training opportunities to help them adapt to the emphasis placed on digital learning in the new core curriculum, says Jari Salminen, a researcher of educational history at the University of Helsinki.

 

The Finnish basic education system has been thrown into such a state of confusion that it is threatening to compromise the legal protection of pupils and equality in further education, Jari Salminen, a researcher of educational history at the University of Helsinki, argues in a guest contribution to Helsingin Sanomat.

“Hardly anything is left of the carefully designed, thoroughly supervised and systematically developed basic education system,” he writes.

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Orsi, a 21-year-old international business student from Hungary, says that choosing Lapin AMK was the best decision she’s ever made.

As Finland redoubles its efforts to attract more international students, little attention has been paid to the far north of the country, where a small but rapidly-growing cohort of students from across the world are choosing to call this winter wonderland their home.

Lapland is home to the northernmost university of applied sciences in Europe, Lapin AMK, which teaches close to 6000 students at campuses in Rovaniemi, Tornio, and Kemi. Over 500 of those students now hail from outside of Finland, choosing Lapin AMK to study one of their English language degrees or as part of a study exchange program. 

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A total of 66 people were interrogated during an investigation into widespread corruption at the Education Department of the City of Helsinki, says Helsinki Police Department.
A total of 66 people were interrogated during an investigation into widespread corruption at the Education Department of the City of Helsinki, says Helsinki Police Department.

 

Police have wrapped up a pre-trial investigation into a massive corruption case where a former employee is suspected of ordering nine million euros worth of equipment for the City of Helsinki’s Education Department in 2006–2016.

The computers, mobile phones and other electronics were never delivered to the department but sold to individuals all over Finland.

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Touko Aalto, the chairperson of the Green League, is not impressed by how the government is going about reforming the vocational education system in Finland.
Touko Aalto, the chairperson of the Green League, is not impressed by how the government is going about reforming the vocational education system in Finland.

 

The Finnish government is going about reforming the vocational education system the wrong way, views Touko Aalto, the chairperson of the Green League.

“The buzz among the rank and file of the ruling parties is that they’re going about it the wrong way, as you should first carry out reforms and then look at the benefits created by the reforms,” the opposition leader stated to Uusi Suomi on Tuesday.

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