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Education is the solution to integration

07.03.2019 - 11:03 Blog
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In order to maintain the Finnish welfare society and its services also in the future, we must resolve how to increase the working age population in Finland. We must also open the doors of our welfare society to people arriving from other countries.

In 2015, the wave of asylum seekers started a long-awaited debate on the promotion of immigrant integration. A search for a wider range of measures began to integrate people migrating to Finland into Finnish society. It was also clear that the native population needs information on other cultures and the increasing diversity and changes in society. Many misunderstandings can be prevented through mutual accommodation.

Finland is facing a new challenge in securing the welfare society. The share of the working age population of the total population has long been decreasing as the baby boom generation has retired. Birth rates are now also declining sharply.

In order to maintain the Finnish welfare society and its services also in the future, we must resolve how to increase the working age population in Finland. We must also open the doors of our welfare society to people arriving from other countries.

We must stop treating immigrants as a uniform group. This group is even more diversified than the native population. Most immigrants move to Finland for family reasons.

A considerable number of people come here to study and work. Finland has also attracted and continues to attract people with higher education. The Finnish or Swedish language skills and knowledge of the diverse aspects of Finnish culture of all people moving to Finland must be developed further so that they can become part of workforce in Finland.

Education helps us ensure that culture is shared by all people living and arriving in Finland. We must offer education and training to people of all ages. Competent teachers at every step from early childhood education and care (ECEC) to adult education and training want to work towards promoting the studies and employment of everyone in Finland.

OAJ treats internationality as well as cultural and people diversity as an opportunity. Although considerable effort has been taken to promote integration, there is still work to be done. OAJ highlights that education is the best form of integration.

OAJ’s Integration Compass 2019 provides solutions for the better integration of all children, adolescents and adults with an immigrant background. It is high time to pay attention to the undeniable importance of pedagogical ECEC in the promotion of integration. The foundation for immigrants to learn their native language and the Finnish language and culture must be laid down during ECEC. All pupils and students must have a subjective right to preparatory instruction. Labour immigration must be supported by providing adequate instruction in Finnish or Swedish and cultural instruction. Education and training offered by liberal adult education institutions must be available to all.

Finland is a civilised nation. Every citizen in Finland must have the opportunity to develop. This also benefits Finland. We must also lead the way in accepting the diversity of our population and in also giving those who may not necessarily stay in Finland the opportunity to learn and receive education and training. #koulutusratkaisee

Olli Luukkainen

President, Trade Union of Education in Finland, OAJ

 

 

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Olli Luukkainen
Olli Luukkainen