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Statement: The draft regulations concerning the renewal of the funding model of universities of applied sciences

20.2.2024

Diakonia University of Applied Sciences student union O'Diako spoke about the Ministry of Education and Culture's draft of the government's proposal to the parliament to amend the University Act and the University of Applied Sciences Act. The presentation discusses, among other things, the full coverage of tuition fees for students coming from outside the EU/EEA, measures to prevent the evasion of tuition fees, on-demand training and the refund of the university application processing fee for applicants with education completed elsewhere than in the EU/EEA area.

The presented funding model penalizes those universities and sectors with a lot of industry changers (for example, social security sector). Emphasizing funding on first-time students does not automatically increase the number of first-time students, but it increases the pressure on first-time students to choose their first university place. Losing a first-time degree is a difficult place for many, because after losing it, it is more difficult to get into higher education when there are fewer places to start. The first-time quota is also discriminatory for people from different backgrounds.

The higher education institution's opportunities to influence students' graduation are quite small. Students' graduation is affected, for example, by income and cuts to it, which the university cannot influence. Cuts in students' livelihoods increase students' stress and thus worsen their study well-being and drive students to work to an increasing extent. All of these slow down the progress of studies. Calculating the coefficient of another degree of the same level, on the other hand, weakens the opportunities for developing one's own competence. We see that calculating the coefficient can encourage higher education institutions to increase the quota for first-time students, which makes it difficult to change fields and retrain. It would be important to support these so that there is enough skilled labor in the business life of the future.

The goal that the skills of persons with a Finnish personal identification number should be utilized in Finnish working life (OKM 2024, 48) and strengthen the probabilities of staying in Finland must be understood. However, taking into account that obtaining a Finnish personal identification number can be particularly challenging for those who would benefit most from the credits of an open university of applied sciences, we would see that the proposal has a negative effect, especially when thinking about the study opportunities of asylum seekers. This also does not increase opportunities in terms of working life, as there is also a need for opportunities to supplement an already completed degree. The change should not weaken the realization of internationality in higher education nor reduce, let alone prevent, opportunities for participation.

We agree with the goals of the funding model to increase the number of people with higher education, but we see that the Performance Focus of the funding model does not promote the quality of teaching or the well-being of the higher education community. The emphasis on rapid graduation has a detrimental effect on both learning and the quality of teaching, so that students do not have time to deepen their studies and develop expertise in their own field. It is not beneficial for the business world if the number of people with higher education increases but the quality of education is not invested.

Diakonia-ammattikorkeakoulun opiskelijakunta O'Diakon puolesta,

Sanja Laitinen-Lindelöf

O'Diakon hallituksen puheenjohtaja

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