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Finland – 27 new projects supporting migrants’ education pathways subsidised

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has recently announced continued support for the integration and development of educational paths for students and pupils with migrant background. A total of EUR 5.5 million, coming from the state budget adopted in 2017, will be allocated to 27 projects carried out by higher (and other) education institutions, education and training organisations and national authorities.

In early 2016, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture announced the appointment of a Steering Group to explore immediate actions in response to the refugee crises in the fields of education, youth, culture and sport. The expert group, including ACA member EDUFI, proposed a set of actions that offered guidance services for traumatised youth, streaming pathways to education and integration programmes, fast guidance into continued education, new and flexible learning agreements particularly for attaining VET qualifications, and the prevention of cultural conflicts. Two national level pilot projects, dealing with recognition of prior learning and coordinated guidance and counselling for students with migration backgrounds, were selected at that stage for ministerial funding. 

The 27 selected projects cover a range of related topics, from:

  • the improvement of learning outcomes;
  • the extension of the Nokia Bridge Programme – i.e. a piloting a fast-track training programme for those migrants eligible to access higher education (led by Turku University of Applied Sciences), to be modelled on the comprehensive programme that supported the Nokia employees laid-off in 2011 in finding new employment opportunities and replacing jobs in communities where Nokia had been a major employer;
  • the creation of new routes to university study (led by University of Jyväskylä);
  • enhanced digital services for identification of prior learning (led by Karelia University of Applied Sciences);
  • improved preparatory education for migrants (led by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences);
  • trainings for the qualification of immigrants with a teaching background to support them to continue in their profession (Universities of Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu and Eastern Finland);
  • early childhood education (in cooperation with municipalities);
  • the promotion of measures for social inclusion; and
  • preventive actions on racism (led by National Union of Vocational Students in Finland SAKKI).  

With governmental backing for this new collection of initiatives, Finland aims to further support migrants in their transition and integration into the world of (higher) education and work, while emphasising the need to have flexible measures, which are well-suited to the target group’s unique needs.

Finish Ministry of Education and Culture – Press release

More about Nokia Bridge Programme can be found in the European Commission’s 2014 Country Report on Finland