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Merging Finnish higher education institutions

A working group on Finland’s higher education (lead by the Secrtary of State Raimo Sailas) produced its proposals to the Finnish Minister of Education and science, Mr Antti Kalliomäki on the 19th of February. The main theme running throughout the proposals is the need to increase mutual cooperation between universities and meet new demands placed on higher education by globalisation. The most significant proposals recommend unifying Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. The resulting university is to be accorded foundation status and will commence its activities in 2009. The other two proposals are to merge University of Turku and Turku School of Economics, and University of Joensuu and University of Kuopio (to create University of Eastern Finland). This trend in learning institution unison can already be observed in Finnish polytechnics (universities of applied sciences) as there are currently three merges in progress among these institutions.

Minister Kalliomäki said that projects to develop and improve the current system are essential, particularly if Finland wants to keep abreast of the global tide of internationalization, student mobility, and research investment. Although budgetary decisions on the matter will not be made before the next term of government, with elections due in March, it is anticipated that that universities will be offered interesting financial incentives in the merger process. 

Currently there are 20 universitities and 28 polytetechnics operating under the ministry of education in Finland.

Finnish Ministry of Education