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The first calls under the new Erasmus+ programme period have been opened

The European Commission opened the first calls for proposals under the Erasmus+ programme period 2021–2027 on 25 March 2021. The deadlines for learning mobility and Partnership for cooperation applications are in May. In addition to familiar actions, funding is also available for new actions that enhance European cooperation.
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Majority of student exchanges cancelled also during spring term

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, higher education institutions have also had to cancel the majority of the student exchanges planned for the spring term. Especially the number of outgoing students from Finland remains lower than anticipated. On the other hand, virtual mobility has started to increase when a growing number of students complete their exchange studies remotely from their home country.
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Scholarships aimed at international postgraduate students to be renewed at the turn of the year

EDUFI Fellowship and the Finnish Government Scholarship Pool will be merged into one scholarship programme.
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Coronavirus complicates the situation of incoming degree students as well as exchange students in Finland

The coronavirus pandemic has had a considerable impact on international student mobility in higher education institutions (HEIs). In the course of this year, the Finnish National Agency for Education has investigated the situation by means of several surveys on the number of mobilities and the arrangements made by HEIs. The most recent survey revealed that coronavirus has in many ways complicated not only the situation of exchange students but also the situation of foreign degree students in HEIs.
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Finnish survey reveals increase in school absenteeism

Approximately 2–3% of all lower secondary school pupils in Finland constantly have a large number of absences from school. According to Pirjo Koivula, Education Counsellor and the Agency’s National Co-ordinator for Finland, non-attendance has negative consequences for both the individual learner and for wider society. It has been linked to mental health problems and school drop-out, which can both lead to difficulties finding employment and other financial and health problems later in life. The reasons for absenteeism are wide-ranging and include illness, problems at home and social problems at school, such as bullying. The COVID‑19 pandemic has also contributed to absenteeism in Finland: a study by the University of Helsinki and Tampere University in May 2020 found that 8% of teachers had been unable to make any contact with some of their learners during the school closures.
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Coronavirus epidemic delays language tests: from now on, you can only reschedule your registration once

The coronavirus situation has complicated the organisation of National Certificate of Language Proficiency (YKI) tests. The YKI system is doing its best to ensure that a maximum number of candidates in need of the YKI certificate can sit the test as soon as possible. This certificate may be needed when applying for Finnish citizenship, a study place or a job, for example. In addition to YKI tests, language proficiency in Finnish and Swedish can be demonstrated in the Civil service language proficiency certificate system.
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Higher education institutions estimate the number of student exchanges in the autumn semester to be much lower than normally

Student exchanges in Finnish higher education institutions (HEIs) continue during the autumn semester 2020. However, as a result of the COVID-19 situation, the number of both incoming and outgoing exchange students in Finland are much lower than in a normal situation. According to the HEIs’ estimates, the number of outgoing students from Finland will be only one quarter of what it was last autumn. The total number of incoming exchange students is also clearly lower than before, but some HEIs have even seen an increase in the number of incoming students.
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OECD indicators: In Finland vocational education and training appeals to people of all ages

Vocational education and training is popular in Finland and attracts a wide range of people of different ages to study. By international standards, vocational education and training is also an...
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Recognition of a qualification completed abroad can now be applied for online

The Finnish National Agency for Education's decision on the recognition of a qualification completed abroad can now be applied for electronically by using the online application form on the Studyinfo webservice. The new application form was introduced on 7 September 2020.
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Finnish schools coped well with the transition to distance education, but students hope for more interaction

As Finland switched to distance education in March 2020, Finnish National Agency for Education launched a study to find out how schools and institutions in primary and secondary education cope with being forced into distance education by the COVID-19 pandemic. The study collates and summarises a number of Finnish studies and reports with the aim of facilitating further reforms and development of education in the future. Both international comparisons and national studies indicate that the transition to and delivery of distance education in Finnish schools and educational institutions were successful considering the circumstances. This is attributed to the high professional skills of teachers and society's investments in education and digitalisation.
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New school year began in contact teaching

Autumn term in Finland started this week, as education providers at local level have set the starting day for basic education to fall between 11.8.–18.8.2020. Schools start in contact teaching, but are ready to switch to distance learning if the epidemiological situation requires. The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) has provided instructions and support materials on aspects that should be considered when arranging schoolwork in the autumn of 2020.
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Impact of COVID-19 on higher education student mobility in Finland

During the spring semester 2020 the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) collected statistical information on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on international student mobility within higher education to/from Finland.
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COVID-related restrictions on education gradually lifted in Finland from 14.5.2020

The Government has decided to gradually lift the restrictions on education on the basis of an assessment by the health authorities. Early Childhood Education and Basic Education schools will resume contact teaching on 14 May. Upper secondary education, vocational education and higher education institutions can also do so, but the Government recommends that they continue to provide distance education until the end of the term.
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School premises in Finland closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus

School premises in Finland are closed until 13 April in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. This concerns basic education from grade 4 to 9, general upper secondary schools and vocational schools throughout the country. Pupils in grades 1-3 in basic education may go to school, but parents are strongly urged to keep their children home whenever possible. Early childhood education and care centres stay open but parents are asked to keep their children home whenever possible.
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Education services and the coronavirus

Schools, educational institutions, early childhood education and care and organisations participating in international projects should take active measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Finnish National Agency for Education does not provide instructions for matters related to health care as this is the responsibility of the health authorities. Always contact the health authorities by phone if you suspect an infection.
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Higher education programmes offered in English attract more foreign students than earlier

The number of applicants to programmes offered in other than Finnish and Swedish has increased during the last few years.
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The Finnish good PISA results have brought thousands of educationalists to Finland

The Finnish good PISA results have brought thousands of educationalists to Finland The reputation of Finnish education seems to be known in all parts of the world. Thousands of visitors have come to Finland to learn about our system, schools and teachers since the beginning of the 2000s. The National Agency for Education alone has hosted more than 16 000 guests.
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Finnish 15-year-olds still among top performers in reading literacy but growing proportion of low performers needs addressing

OECD’s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey again ranked Finnish 15-year-olds among top performers in reading literacy in OECD countries. This time the focus in the PISA2018 survey, held every three years, was on reading literacy. Compared with 2015, Finnish pupils’ mathematical literacy also remained unchanged, but performance in science literacy declined. Differentiation between students is being addressed with national programmes such as the national literacy forum and a survey of boys' learning challenges
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In a crisis, the safety of the students and the support offered by the schools are paramount

In early October 2019 Finland was shaken by a violent incident at Savo Vocational College in Kuopio. Schools in Finland are supporting pupils and students cope with what has happened. As part of student welfare plan, schools have to prepare a crisis plan and offer psychosocial support to students in a crisis situation. It is important to anticipate different situations, prepare plans on how to act, and to train for these situations regularly. EDUFI supports education providers by information and advice, and by providing materials and training related to security issues.
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Average group sizes in basic education in Finland below the OECD average

Average group sizes in basic education in Finland have for a long time been below the OECD average. This is the case also in 2017, according to this year’s Education at a Glance that was published in September.