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Towards the end of 2008 the Finnish Education Minister Sari Sarkomaa resigned, after less than two years in office, to dedicate more time to her family, and to her three little children in particular. Sarkomaa will, however, remain active in the political arena through her engagement as a member of the Finnish Parliament.
Following Sarkomaa’s resignation Henna Virkkunen was nominated shortly before Christmas as the new Education and Science Minister. Virkkunen is serving her first term as an MP and she is also the vice-chairman of the conservative National Coalition Party. There are two ministers at the Ministry of Education: the Minister of Education and Science is responsible for matters relating to education and research and the Minister of Culture and Sport for matters relating to culture, sports, youth, copyright, student financial aid, and church affairs.