Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister of Education and Culture, has begun work to create a vision for the objectives of higher education and research. The purpose of the vision is to create an image of the Finnish higher education system in 2030 – a high-quality system that is effective and able to compete on an international level.
2017 will see the largest reforms in higher education for decades, which has led many to consider the number of universities and their structures in general. In addition to structures and frameworks, SYL also wants to include content in the debate on Vision 2030: what is the teaching like in practice in a high-quality, effective system? What activities do we want it to include?
In her address at the vision workshop President Riina Lumme emphasised students’ opportunities for varied learning. In an internationally competitive higher education system the best learning methods and study techniques have been identified for each student: some learn best through group work or giving presentations, some prefer writing essays, and others benefit from being taught techniques for note-taking and memorising information.
I would like to see each student’s personal learning goals being determined for every course, in relation to the learning objectives of the course. For example, on a language course the teaching could be tailored according to whether the aim of the student is to achieve good verbal skills, or to learn to read research publications in their own field easily in a foreign language. The learning objectives can be reached in many different ways, and adding a personal emphasis in order to increase study motivation is allowed. Courses in higher education should emphasise learning as a result of interaction of a high pedagogic quality rather than teaching.
One aspect that SYL definitely wants to promote is lifelong learning. Even though the term lifelong learning has suffered from an inflation, it is still a highly topical subject, which is being considered by several working groups of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Learning to learn and adding to one’s competence already plays an important role in today’s society, and its importance will surely not decrease in the future. Those with an interest in lifelong learning are welcome to attend the Dare to Learn event 5–6th September to find out more!
The vision 2030 for higher education can be a useful tool for developing teaching and education, or a dry, political compromise, i.e. mostly a description of the current situation. That is precisely why the main focus of the student organisations and SYL is on the content of education, which can be taken forward regardless of structures.
Board Member, Education Policy