Finland: Union joins EI’s Unite4Ed campaign
Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö(OAJ), one of EI’s national affiliates in Finland, has unveiled its plan to join in EI’s ‘Unite for Quality Education’ (Unite4ed) initiative.
On 4 October, the eve of World Teachers’ Day (WTD), OAJ representatives met with 40 MPs in the national parliament to discuss education issues. This meeting coincided with EI’s simultaneous launch of Unite4ed in Paris, France, and New York, USA.
OAJ highlighted that 27 of Finland’s 200 MPs have a background as teachers.
OAJ’s key messages were:
· Education must be at the top of the policy-makers’ priority list
· A better working environment for teachers, students and pupils is needed
· More resources must be allocated to education
· A regular in-service training system for teachers must be set up
· All teachers must have higher education qualifications
· Investing in education is investing in the future
· The economic and financial crisis must not be used as an excuse to lower education standards
Campaigns for quality education
In 2014, Finnish teachers will also continue with their initiative, ‘OAJ on the Road’. This series of open-air events allow the trade union to meet with its membership, the media, and the leadership of municipalities, universities, and the education sector in general.
Furthermore, OAJ will organise EDUCA, an education fair to be held from 25-26 January 2014. EDUCA is planned to be the largest education event in Finland, with 150 seminars, presentations and sub-events. It is set to gather 250 exhibitors and welcome 15,000-20,000 visitors.
OAJ will also launch the ‘40 ways to build a future’ campaign next year, in the presence of several ministers, MPs and education specialists.
Quality teachers and learning environment
“We welcome all these actions from our Finnish colleagues,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “They are in direct line with our one-year Unite4ed campaign. They underline the need to have highly qualified teachers and quality teaching and learning environments and tools in Finland – which international data shows is a successful country in terms of education and academic achievements - and everywhere else in the world.”