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.
“The start of upper-secondary and vocational education creates educational material costs that put some families in a difficult position. Educational material costs must not become an obstacle to education for even a single young person. That is why new solutions are needed,” she stated in a press release on Friday.
The Finnish National Agency for Education (OPH) will open the application period and decide on the pilot projects to be funded during the course of this autumn.
The Ministry of Education said the objective of the projects is to develop both new ways of borrowing and recycling educational materials, and new open digital educational resources. The objective is also to improve the joint procurement procedures of upper-secondary institutions to reduce the cost of materials and equipment needed by students.
The Union of Upper Secondary School Students in Finland and the National Union of Vocational Students in Finland (SAKKI) have drafted a citizens’ initiative for guaranteeing free access to upper-secondary education. The initiative has received the requisite 50,000 statements of support and will be submitted for parliamentary consideration.
The organisations have reported that the material and equipment costs of a general upper-secondary student can rise to 2,500 euros.
The Finnish government decided in its latest framework session to launch a new subsidy aimed at helping students in the most difficult position to cope with the costs of educational materials in upper-secondary education. The subsidy is worth 46.80 euros a month, amounting to roughly 1,400 euros over a three-year upper-secondary education.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi