Free for publication on 3 June 2020
SYL welcomes the investments in education and students’ wellbeing presented in the supplementary budget proposal.
Yesterday, the Finnish Government published its fourth supplementary budget proposal of 2020, which features important investments in education and student wellbeing.
The Government proposes an increase of 4,800 places in higher education institutions. The universities would receive 2,600 of these. Funding of EUR 124 million is proposed for the increase in places. Increasing the number of places will be important to reducing the logjam in applications to higher education institutions. The idea is to fill some of the new places this fall. Universities and the Ministry of Education and Culture are discussing the allocation of places. SYL regards the addition of places for the coming fall as a key measure for students who are in ‘reserve’ positions after their entry exams.
An open higher education system will be important to complementing skills, especially for those affected by the coronavirus crisis. SYL welcomes greater access to education based on measures such as EUR 10 million to eliminate fees for people who are not in education or employment. Normal student selection is still the primary route to university studies. In addition, EUR 20 million is proposed for skills development and digital services for continuous learning.
Because students have been mentally and socially burdened by the effects of the coronavirus, the EUR 6 million — in support of student wellbeing — allocated to higher education institutions and the Finnish Student Health Service is sorely needed. Investment in mental health services is particularly important.
“We believe that investment in education is the path out of the coronavirus crisis. It’s great that the Government has decided to invest in education and students,” says Tapio Hautamäki, President of SYL.
The proposed investments are a response to a critical need to increase student numbers in higher education institutions and support students’ ability to study. SYL is awaiting the decisions of the August budget session on increases in student meal subsidies. The basic prerequisites of student life must be maintained during the crisis and beyond.
Tapio Hautamäki, President
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