Diminishing age groups, a changing education system
Future challenges in the educational system
Diminishing age groups are forcing the Finnish education system to change. Limiting the duration of studies and reducing the number of dropouts is essential.
It is also essential to limit the time between different levels of education. The average interval between completing upper secondary school (“lukio”) and entering university is currently three years.
The number of applicants accepted at each level and each type of education must be streamlined to ensure that the number of graduates responds better to the future needs of the labour market.
Resources should be allocated more effectively to develop and improve the quality of education. Co-operation between schools, other educational institutes and companies is vital for developing the content of education.
The quality of education is crucial at all levels. Quality education requires sufficient resources and that the basic and further education of teachers is developed. Experience with business life and companies should also be increased among teachers.
New forms of teaching should also be developed. For example, eLearning could offer opportunities in small communities that have not been able to offer a large selection of studies. Co-operation between schools should be increased in this area.
More effectiveness and flexibility for adult education
More vocational adult education is needed. Globalisation is impacting business structures. The development of technology and business is changing our needs for expertise. The competition for skilled labour is intensifying as the large age groups retire and the young age groups entering the labour market are increasingly small.
Due to pension costs and labour shortages, it is important that the retirement age is increased. A key component of this is maintaining the relevance professional skills by developing expertise.
These changes require that adult education is up to date and offers flexible educational alternatives to meet today’s business needs. The ongoing reform of Finland’s adult education system must meet the expectations created by these changes and challenges.
Adult education and training should be developed into an efficient, functional entity. The present fragmented administrative, financial and benefit systems should be simplified.
According to EK, voluntary, tax-subsidised educational insurance would complement statutory benefits. If the savings intended for the development of skills were to remain unused during a person’s career, they would supplement his/her pension.