Education International
Education International

Finland: Educa-fair addresses quality education

published 18 February 2013 updated 4 March 2013

On 25-26 January, around 14,000 teachers attended in Helsinki the Educa-fair, including members of one of EI’s national affiliates, the Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö(OAJ). The Fair featured presentations and discussions on ways to improve education and around 200 companies exhibited their education materials and services.

Among the attendees was the Minister of Education and the General Director of the National Board of Education. One of the keynote speakers, Tarja Halonen, a former President of Finland, thanked teachers for their excellent work and asked them to be proud of their work. She said that, after their school day, teachers can look at themselves in the mirror and say, “Well done!”

Investment in youth education and employment

During the seminar, OAJ President Olli Luukkainen demanded greater efforts from the Government to reduce youth employment. He urged the Government to invest more money in education and to offer increased support to children trying to find their place in the education system or the workplace.

He also called on national authorities to decide on and create better regulation on three key issues:

-          Early childhood education, and before children go to pre-school

-          Primary school

-          Boys doing military service

On these three points, society should take the issues of children and young people into account, and help young people to find quality education or work, stressed Luukkainen.

EI: Celebrate teachers

“We welcome such events aiming at achieving quality education for all,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “This is also an occasion, as Tarja Halonen did, to celebrate teachers for the great work they do on the daily basis.”

He added that EI acknowledges that education systems must give all young people the opportunity to take up initial vocational education and training based on diversity. This should be in response to industry's needs, and facilitate both career development and the pursuit of studies up to the highest level.