Minister of Education Andersson and Minister of Science and Culture Kosonen: Government invests in knowledge and education
The Government will invest in knowledge and education with a financing package of approximately EUR 350 million for all levels of education. This investment will raise the level of skills and competence in Finland, make education more equitable and improve its quality, and enhance the wellbeing of children and young people. The Government agreed on the content of the budget proposal for 2020 in a budget session on Tuesday 17 September.
The Government sees investment in knowledge and education as a key measure for enhancing the wellbeing of people, raising the employment rate and strengthening Finland’s international competitiveness. In total, approximately EUR 350 million will be allocated to skills and education. Investments will be made at all levels of education.
- These decisions are aimed at achieving the objectives set out in the Government Programme: narrowing the learning gaps, making education more equitable and investing in the wellbeing of children and young people, says Minister of Education Li Andersson .
- The Government is committed to raising the level of knowledge and education in Finland. It is the best way to raise the employment rate sustainably, says Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen.
The amount of the first instalment (EUR 1.35 billion) of the future-oriented investments was decided during the government budget session. A spending limits provision amounting to about EUR 1.7 billion has been made for the remaining part the programme of future-oriented investments. Decisions on the programme’s implementation will be taken in the autumn 2020 government budget session as part of the Government Programme’s employment measures and assessment of expenditure increases.
Improving children and young people's learning outcomes and tackling inequality
The Government will launch projects to make early childhood education and care (ECEC) and comprehensive school education more equitable and improve their quality, with the aim of improving children and young people’s learning outcomes and tackling inequality. Between 2020 and 2022, a total of EUR 180 million will be reserved for improving the quality of comprehensive school education and making it more equitable, and EUR 125 million for the same purposes in early childhood education and care. The programme period will be three years.
- Schools that are capable of narrowing the gaps in learning outcomes that result from family backgrounds are the foundation of the welfare state. Equal education does not just happen; it requires effort. We are now investing in the future of Finnish comprehensive school education and early childhood education and care, says Minister Andersson.
The restrictions on the subjective right to early childhood education and care will be abolished and the maximum size of groups in early childhood education and care will be diminished as of 1 August 2020.
In addition, the Government is preparing to increase the financing for before-school and after-school activities and for leisure activities offered as part of the school day by EUR 14.5 million from 2021. To foster opportunities for recreational activities free of charge in connection with the school day, a sum of EUR 5 million is proposed for 2020 with a view to creating an ‘Icelandic model’ in Finland.
Compulsory education to be extended
Compulsory education will be extended to the upper secondary level and the minimum school leaving age to 18 years. At the same time, upper secondary education will become completely free of charge. The aim of the reform is to raise the level of skills and competence across society and to respond to increasing skills requirements. The reform of compulsory education is due to enter into force in 2021.
EUR 22 million will be reserved in 2021, EUR 65 million in 2022 and EUR 107 million in 2023 for extending compulsory education and for making upper secondary education free of charge for students. In addition, EUR 10 million will be allocated in 2021, EUR 20 million in 2022 and EUR 29 million in 2023 to improving student welfare in comprehensive school education and upper secondary education.
- The introduction of compulsory education was one of the greatest acts promoting equality in the history of this country. The world is changing, and now is the time to bring compulsory education into the 2020s. Comprehensive school education alone is no longer enough. By extending compulsory education we want to send a strong signal to society that we must succeed in keeping every young person engaged in their studies until they complete an upper secondary qualification, says Minister Andersson.
A supplementary appropriation of EUR 80 million is proposed for the recruitment of teachers and instructors and for support measures in teaching and instruction in vocational education and training.
Core financing for higher education to be increased
In accordance with the Government Programme, the core financing of universities and universities of applied sciences will be increased by EUR 60 million as of 2020. In addition, the university and university of applied sciences index will be reimposed in 2020, increasing the financing for higher education institutions by a further EUR 67 million.
- I trust in the ability and competence of higher education institutions to reform Finland. That is why it is of paramount importance for higher education institutions to have the resources and stability they need for their work, Minister Kosonen says.
Reforming the system of central government transfers for the arts and financing the renovation of the Finnish National Theatre
For reforming the system of central government transfers for performing arts, an increase of EUR 1 million is proposed in 2020, and EUR 1.5 million will be allocated for this purpose in 2021, EUR 7 million in 2022 and EUR 10 million in 2023. It is also proposed that discretionary government transfers to culture be increased by a total of EUR 5.1 million in 2020, EUR 7.5 million in 2021 and EUR 1.5 million annually between 2022 and 2023. The proposed increase in the level of artist grants is EUR 1.4 million in 2020 and 2021 and EUR 1.8 million in 2022 and 2023.
A total of EUR 50 million is allocated for the renovation of the National Theatre, of which EUR 40 million derive from undistributed betting and lottery profits.
An appropriation of EUR 6 million is proposed for the cross-administrative physical activity programme and the ‘Finland on the Move’ programme and EUR 2 million for the construction of sports facilities in 2020. An increase of EUR 4.8 million is proposed for promoting sports, physical activity and elite sports in 2020. EUR 6.2 million will be reserved in 2021, and EUR 4.5 million in 2022 and 2023, for the implementation of the Report on Sports Policy.
- I understand that there have been great expectations in the youth, sport and culture sector concerning the Veikkaus clause in the Government Programme. This Government must find ways to ensure the continuity of important work financed through the betting and lottery profits, says Minister Kosonen.
In the government budget session, it was decided to explore the future prospects and use of the profits which the state receives from gambling in the central government revenue and expenditure by the 2020 government session on spending limits.
In addition, the Government will implement an important package to support the vitality of the Savonlinna region. As part of this package, the available intake of the Savonlinna campus of Xamk, the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, will be increased by 150 student places, and preparations will be made for opening a border crossing point in Parikkala in 2024. The construction will take place between 2022 and 2023.
Other highlights from the Ministry of Education and Culture's administrative branch
- Within the ECEC project, the piloting of two-year pre-primary education will be continued and the trialling of free ECEC for five-year-olds will be expanded to cover a broader base.
- An increase of EUR 7.5 million is proposed for student-specific financing for general upper secondary education, which, taking into account the municipalities’ self-financing proportion, will increase the level of financing for general upper secondary education by EUR 18 million.
- The financial situation of students with families will be improved with an increase of EUR 25 in the provider supplement.
- The basic rates of the study grant, the supplementary allowance for the purchase of study materials and the provider supplement will be linked to the National Pension Index as of 1 August 2020.
- An increase of EUR 1.5 million is proposed for supporting young people’s workshop activities in 2020 and EUR 1.8–2.0 million will be allocated for this purpose annually between 2021 and 2023.
- A total of EUR 1.2 million is proposed for developing a national digital system for outreach youth work in 2020.
- EUR 2.5 million is proposed for increasing the number of workplace instructors next year.
- It is proposed that additional financing totalling EUR 200,000 be allocated to Svenska Finlands Folktinget.
- Compensation payments for private copying will remain at the current level in 2020–2021.
The estimates given above are preliminary. The budget proposal and the General Government Fiscal Plan will be discussed by the Government on 7 October. After that, the government proposal for the 2020 budget will be published on the budjetti.vm.fi website.
- Touko Sipiläinen, Special Adviser to Minister Andersson, tel. +358 40 196 2292
- Markus Ylimaa, Special Adviser to Minister Kosonen, tel. +358 50 374 8192
- Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary, tel. +358 40 518 4891
- Pasi Rentola, Director of Financial Affairs, tel. +358 295 330 211