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The proposition to merge three of Finland’s top universities (ACA Newsletter –Education Europe February 2007) has become a topic of hard debate in the country. The Government has proposed to merge Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki. More than 5,400 people in Finland have signed a petition against the merger, which was handed over to the Minister of Education Sari Sarkomaa in early June.
Some felt it was inappropriate to include the art institution in a new elite body designed to help improve Finland's economic competitiveness, while others feared that the new university would suck higher education funding away from other institutions. However, it has now been confirmed that the proposal will be implemented and the new university will begin operations on 1 January 2009.HELSINGIN SANOMAT