Tuition fees cannot fix shortcomings in core funding

Parliamentary elections are approaching, the Ministry of Finance is proposing tuition fees as a Christmas present, and even university rectors are going along with the idea. What’s going on?

Last week, the Ministry of Finance published an outlook review by officials at the Ministry of Finance, which undermines free education by proposing tuition fees for all students. In an interview with Yle on 13 December, some university rectors would be ready to consider the proposal, which would be a severe blow to students if implemented.

Fixing basic issues with core funding

According to the memo of the Ministry of Finance and the rectors interviewed by Yle, the fees collected from students would be used on basic issues, such as improving the quality of tuition and developing alternative forms of teaching. According to the memo, increased resources could also be used to develop research.

Students are also hoping that the quality of teaching and research will be maintained. However, the Ministry of Education and Culture (OKM) has core funding for basic issues. The majority of university activities are financed, and must continue to be financed, by core funding. Resources for basic issues must not be collected from students’ dwindling finances. Finland can afford to have future talents, as well as future solutions and innovations.

Teaching and education must not be addressed by the Ministry of Finance

First of all, it is problematic that the Ministry of Finance comments on issues related to teaching arrangements, student admission and the accessibility of education. In Finland, issues related to the organising of higher education are part of the administrative branch of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Tuition fees do not solve the challenges which are daily faced by OKM, higher education institutions and many others working in the field of higher education.

Keeping education free of charge

Free education is the basic pillar of Finnish society and strongly supported by the student movement. Again this year, AYY has defended free education several times. Unfortunately, as the parliamentary elections are getting closer, the debate is focusing on seemingly easy solutions, such as tuition fees, as there is no willingness to increase core funding. This is very unfortunate, as the increasing of core funding is the way to safeguard both the future and the academic community.

Further information:

Veera Ollikainen, Member of the AYY Board

[email protected]

Teemu Palkki, AYY Policy Specialist: Academic Affairs


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