The teachers room in Kalasatama elementary school in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA


In a recent survey conducted by the Trade Union of Education (OAJ), only one in ten teachers feels that their expertise and work are appreciated in society. OAJ's Chairperson, Katarina Murto, emphasizes the need for a sustained effort to address this deficit in appreciation and underscores OAJ's role in anticipating upcoming societal changes and safeguarding a high-quality education system.

The survey revealed that only 10 percent of teachers feel completely appreciated for their professional competence and work, with an additional 22 percent partially agreeing that their expertise is valued in society. The data comes from a spring survey conducted by OAJ, in which over 2,200 teachers working at various educational levels participated.

"This result is extremely concerning, and policymakers must take it seriously. According to teachers, this appreciation doesn't manifest itself in their salaries, resources, or how they are included in discussions related to their field. Continuous reforms with budget cuts and an excessive number of detached projects have burdened them for a long time. I urge decision-makers to better consider teachers and their perspectives in decision-making and commit to a long-term strengthening of funding for education, nurturing, and research. In this regard, we are far behind other Nordic countries," stated Katarina Murto, Chairperson of OAJ.

Majority Report Autonomy in Their Work

One positive aspect of the survey results is that teachers feel heard in their work and have the opportunity to influence it. Three-quarters of respondents either completely or somewhat agree that they can use pedagogical methods they consider best in their work. Similarly, six out of ten teachers feel they have sufficient autonomy and decision-making authority in their work.

"The daily routines in daycare centers, schools, and educational institutions have changed as the world has evolved, and more and more teachers find innovative teaching methods inspiring and meaningful. According to the survey, 89 percent of teachers see simultaneous teaching as a good working method and want to implement it in their work," said Murto.

OAJ at 50: Focusing on the Future

The survey results will be further analyzed at OAJ's 50th-anniversary seminar, held today, September 26, from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM. The seminar will also feature speeches from Minister of Education Anna-Maja Henriksson and Professor Alf Rehn.

During the anniversary seminar, a future pamphlet will be released, bringing together the views of ten experts from various fields on societal trends and their impacts on the daily lives of daycare centers, schools, and educational institutions. A central theme of the pamphlet is how education and expertise can ensure the functioning of society in a situation where the population is aging and decreasing, economic prospects are uncertain, democracy development may be at risk, technology and artificial intelligence are expanding, and the environment's carrying capacity is being tested.

"As society changes, we must find new solutions for taking care of educated teachers in Finland and ensuring the quality of education, upbringing, training, and research. These changes can cause uncertainty and insecurity for our members, which is why, as an organization, we must anticipate and advocate strongly. Our goal is for OAJ's role as a professional organization representing the education, upbringing, and research sector to be strengthened even further amid these changes, giving voice to professionals in this field," Murto concluded.

How OAJ Conducted the Survey:

  • The "Teacher's Voice" survey assessed the views of teachers working at different educational levels.
  • The online survey was conducted in the spring of 2023, with 2,271 responses.
  • For a more detailed breakdown of the results, you can visit here.

Follow the anniversary seminar live from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM or watch it later!

OAJ's 50th-anniversary seminar is held on Tuesday, September 26, from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM. You can watch the event live online or view it later as a recording. The program and the live stream can be found here.