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Education and Culture gets appropriation EUR 6.3b in 2021

Govt agrees finance plan for 2018-2021

Published : 29 Apr 2017, 00:52

Updated : 29 Apr 2017, 09:05

  DF Report

Minister for education and culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen. Photo Prime Minister Office by Sakari Piippo.

The government on Friday  agreed on the general government finance plan for 2018-2021. The level of the allocated appropriation for the Ministry of Education and Culture is 6.3 billion euros in 2021. Additional 340 million euros will be allocated to know-how, of which 200 million will come from the budget and 140 million for education and research will be allocated as capitalization, said a government press release.

In the coming years, the government will invest in know-how and the welfare of children and youth.  Investments in cutting-edge research and in the impact of research will be increased. The fees for early childhood education will be reduced. Equality-related financing for comprehensive schools will be doubled. The vocational education and training reform will receive financial support.   Funds will also be allocated for the prevention of marginalisation of young people.

“The government added major funding to education and research in its budget meeting. Finland aims for growth based on know-how and wants to be the best country for education in the world also in the future,” said minister for education and culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

The flagship program strengthens the top level of Finnish research and supports, together with the innovation network, the effectiveness of the impact that research has on society and on economic growth. The program that brings changes to structures and ways of working connects experts who are characterized by high level of scientific achievement and the pursuit for international level of excellence.  The flagship program aims to raise awareness of Finnish universities nationally and internationally.

Areas of research with themes that have a high level of importance and a national effect will be chosen to be part of the program, along with the strongest research teams with the highest merits.   The effectiveness of the research teams that supports society and economic growth will be built on development environments together with businesses, and this effectiveness will form a vital part of the research teams’ work, secured with the aid of separate funding.

The financing for the flagships is temporary and it is based on a strict assessment of effectiveness and quality. They will have close but flexible ties to businesses in growing and other industries with which they will work closely with. The flagship research clusters are used to search for areas that have strong know-how and many additional possibilities for promoting growth.

“I am glad that the government decided to add funding for research and innovation in universities.  We will immediately begin, together with Academy of Finland and universities, to prepare a process we will use in choosing the new types of best units for research (so called flagships) and begin working on them,” said chief secretary Anita Lehikoinen, who was the chairperson of the preliminary group set up by the government last autumn for preparing alternative additional funding models.

A total of 33 million euros will be allocated to the development of data management and high speed computing. The development program is used to raise the research infrastructure of the industry to international level and to strengthen the research and education related to artificial intelligence.

The internationalisation policies for higher education and research will be implemented as part of the Talent Boost program which is used to attract international talent to Finland. As part of the Business Finland entity, to increase the internationalisation of the higher education and research system, a Team Finland Knowledge network will be set up to represent Finnish higher education and research in selected countries.

An additional 2.4 million euros will be allocated in 2018-2021 to the polytechnic education for mechanical timber construction.

“As part of the employment and entrepreneurship packages, the government also decided to continue the funding of the innovation voucher, and the level of funding for it will be increased. The innovation voucher has proven to be a good way of promoting cooperation in research and product development. especially between small and medium sized businesses and polytechnic schools,” Grahn-Laasonen said.

The fees for early education will be decreased.  The amount of families who do not have to pay any fees will number 6,700.  The fees for low and middle-income families will be reduced and the discount for a second child in day care will be raised to 50%. The new levels for non-paying of fees follow the definition of small incomes which has been raised by 500 euros.  This decreasing of fees is estimated to cut payments made to communities by 70 million euros.
More nursery school teachers for day care centres will be trained. 28 million euros will be allocated for 2018-2021 for the development of the staffing structure for early childhood education. The aim is to strengthen the quality of early childhood education and pedagogy, and to increase the multi professional support that children and families receive.

The government approved a program for increasing the welfare of children and young people, to preventing marginalisation, and to reducing the number of young people who remain outside of education and employment. The actions are financed by the budgets of the ministries’ own branches of government as well as key projects already taking place. Additional funding for the 19 step program was also allocated for.

“The marginalisation of youth and their remaining outside of education and working life is a big, serious problem. The government decided on 19 actions to prevent marginalisation of young people. It all starts by supporting early childhood education and families. The government guaranteed the continuation of the Ohjaamo activities and the funding of the municipal youth work and workshops looking for the young people in danger of marginalisation. In the Ohjaamo program, the youth are helped forward on the path of education and working life,” Grahn-Laasonen added.