COVID-19 epidemic measures and preparing for it in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Education and Culture

The measures taken by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the agencies, institutions and other bodies in its administrative branch seek to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to alleviate the harm caused by it. The Ministry is closely monitoring the situation in cooperation with other authorities. Epidemic prevention measures under the Communicable Diseases Act are primarily local and regional.

The Ministry of Education and Culture implements the policies and decisions taken by the Government and prepares the statutes necessary under its remit, for example. The Ministry collects information on the situation and monitors the impact of the epidemic in its area of responsibility and in the services used by people. The Ministry aims to support the recovery from the crisis by awarding grants, for example.

Under the Communicable Diseases Act, the Regional State Administrative Agencies have the power to close schools and educational institutions and to impose restrictions on assembly, for example.

Under the current exceptional arrangements caused by the COVID-19 situation, the Finnish National Agency for Education advises and produces support material for education and training providers as well as schools and educational institutions.

Local authorities and joint municipal authorities are responsible for educational and cultural services and are obliged to make provision for ensuring that, even in exceptional circumstances, they are able to ensure the best possible execution of their duties. Higher education institutions are responsible for the safety and security of their own activities, taking into account existing statutes and decisions.

Many organisations and individuals in society have also wanted to help and support others in people’s everyday arrangements and to make their own expertise available. This work will be promoted by means of the ‘Finland forward’ campaign.

What we are preparing for in the future

  • Epidemic prevention measures under the Communicable Diseases Act are primarily local and regional. In its resolutions the Government outlines national and regional recommendations aiming to support regional measures to curb the spread of the epidemic and help get it under control as quickly as possible.
  • A temporary amendment was made to the Basic Education Act, which now makes it possible to introduce exceptional teaching arrangements. Temporary changes were also made to the regulations on demonstrations in vocational education and training and to regulations related to absences in higher education institutions.
  • Government grants will be used to offset the repercussions of the exceptional circumstances on early childhood education, pre-primary education, primary education and lower secondary education.
  • Government grants will be allocated to the providers of general upper secondary education for study revision and review needs and other support measures following the emergency conditions caused by the COVID-19 situation in the spring.
  • The exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus will be taken into account in the maximum time limits applicable to student financial aid and progress in studies
  • Those involved in culture, sport and youth work, as these sectors have been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis we be supported by state grants.
  • Government funding for businesses will be strengthened due to COVID-19, including those operating in the creative industries
  • A grant from foundations, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Arts Promotion Centre will be distributed as a matter of urgency to professionals in arts and culture suffering as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic.
  • The exceptional operating conditions will be taken into account in the case of discretionary government grants that have already been awarded and central government transfers for cultural institutions.
  • The Academy of Finland is offering a special funding opportunity to support and accelerate research into the COVID-19 epidemic and the mitigation of its effects and to support the utilisation of the research in society.