Leading up to the parliamentary elections, the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) writes blogs about various parties’ election programmes, weighing the pros and cons from students’ viewpoint. Next on our list is Movement Now.
Movement Now claims to be an alternative to other parties, but it remains unclear what that means in practice. What also remains unclear is what they mean by many of the pledges in their manifesto. The party also wants students to work, but what will happen to those who cannot?
Students to work, but at what cost?
Movement Now proposes that the earnings limit for student financial aid be removed to promote student welfare, but this is an expensive way to support students. The removal of the earnings limit would cost the state EUR 260 million. With that amount, the student financial aid could be increased by a hundred euros – twice. Furthermore, removing the earnings limit would not help disadvantaged students who cannot work, for example. Instead, it would benefit the students who are already doing well and would just make more money on top of an already adequate income. At the moment, the upper earnings limit is EUR 35,360 a year. Would students making more than that still have a social need for student financial aid?
The party’s election manifesto proposes that EUR 400 million be cut from housing allowance by setting an upper limit for it. Housing costs already have a cap, as maximum housing costs have been determined. So, does this mean setting a cap for housing allowance in the state budget and supposedly decreasing everyone’s allowance?
To solve the mental health crisis, Movement Now proposes compensating social and healthcare professionals for the cost of psychotherapist training – great! But why not make psychotherapist training free for all? That would help further improve the availability of mental health services. Movement Now also promotes the provision of low-threshold mental health services.
Increase in core funding if possible
With the proposal of an annual adjustment of EUR 3.26 billion, Movement Now sticks to not cutting on social and healthcare services or education. Movement Now also wants to increase the number of starting places in higher education, which is, by no means, free and requires more core funding for higher education. We admire the goal of Movement Now to increase core funding, if possible. However, this may not be that high a priority for the party. Furthermore, enhancing financial autonomy seems to be referring to the capitalisation of higher education institutions, which will not suffice to remedy the situation within the given timeframe.
Movement Now recognises the fact that the entry into and graduation from higher education take too long. As a solution, Movement Now calls for a strict limitation of the right to study. This would probably lead to an increased number of drop-outs and fewer opportunities for multidisciplinary study and make studying much more stressful, which simply will not do! Movement Now would also like to find out whether it could be possible to offer a general basic bachelor’s degree in Finland, a bachelor’s degree that would qualify the students for working life instead of studies at the master’s level. In other words, Movement Now is willing to compromise on the level of education to get everyone to work.
The party would speed up the entry into higher education by increasing the number of starting places, and they would do that by replacing the current certificate-based student admissions with something. The problem is that the party’s manifesto does not indicate what kind of a student admissions process Movement Now would prefer. SYL is happy to help the party form an opinion on that!
No worries about tomorrow, even if there should be
Finland is in dire need of international experts, and SYL is eagerly expecting the political parties to take a stance on how Finland could attract and hold onto international talent. Based on their election manifesto, Movement Now has not identified Finland’s worrying population trend, as there is no mention of international experts. Thus, we have to reprimand the party heavily for ignoring the entire subject.
We also must strongly criticise Movement Now about not supporting the general development cooperation and climate goals. Movement Now states that the party does not support Finland’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2035 and proposes cuts of EUR 600 million in development cooperation. Not supporting the carbon-neutrality goal also strips young people of any hope of having a better future. The issue is a generational one, and the future of present and future generations on this planet must be safeguarded.
Cutting on development cooperation represents extremely short-sighted thinking. The world we live in is interdependent, meaning that problems that may seem distant will arrive at our doorstep eventually. Development cooperation helps combat global threats that also affect Finland, which makes it effective crisis management.
- Where is free education?
- The removal of the earnings limits for student financial aid would cost a fortune, and actually not help disadvantaged students
- Lack of support for development cooperation and climate goals
- No cuts on education
- Identification of the need to increase the number of starting places
- Provision of solutions to the mental health crisis
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