A decline in learning achievements could dent Finland's gross domestic product by 25 per cent by the end of the century, warns the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava). A decline in educational achievements could have significant repercussions for the economy of Finland, warns the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff (Akava).

Akava points out in a press release that the average score of Finns in PISA tests in mathematics and natural sciences dropped by 23.5 points in 2006–2012, according to a study carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“If the decline is permanent and reflects the skills of adults, the results published by the OECD allow for the conclusion that economic growth could slow by 0.46 per cent in Finland in the long term. Finland's gross domestic product would be 25 per cent smaller by the end of the century than in the scenario that there is no decline in learning achievements,” says Eugen Koev, the chief economist at Akava.

“It would slow down the growth rate by roughly 30 per cent, if you conform to the traditional, long-term growth projection of 1.5 per cent for Finland,” he says in an interview with the official publication of Akava.

The possible economic slowdown could according to the publication become a reality once the current workforce has been replaced by people born after 1997. The cumulative impact on economic growth would amount to roughly 5 per cent by the mid-2040s and to almost 25 per cent by 2100.

Akava has calculated that 25 per cent of the current gross domestic product is equivalent to some 52 billion euros – that is, 9,500 euros per capita.

“Taking the difference in prices into consideration, this exceeds the income gap between Finland and Spain. It would not reduce us to the income levels in Greece,” tells Akava.

“Important decision have and continue to be made by people who are not experts in education or education policy. Education policy is fair game to officials, politicians, advocacy groups and economists due to a lack of research data and open discussion on the applications of that data,” argues Ida Mielityinen, an adviser at Akava.

“More accurate information and analyses about what should and should not be done at each level of education are needed urgently. Or [information about] how to develop education and create savings without compromising the quality of education and expertise,” she continues.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi