Finnish National Agency for Education enhances work that supports integration

Current issues Integration
The work of the Finnish National Agency for Education is aimed at increasing equality and open-mindedness in education and internationalisation, improving the wellbeing of learners and raising their competence level through continuous learning.
Aikuisten perusopetus

Supporting the integration of immigrants, developing the teaching and education of learners with an immigrant background and building a diverse society play an important role in reaching these goals.

The Finnish National Agency for Education has for a long time worked in different ways to support the integration of immigrants: in 2019, it developed new methods of supporting integration in the impact programme Supporting integration. Especially the impacts of racism on the learning and employment of learners with an immigrant background were examined and methods for enhancing the cooperation, professional identities and competence of integration professionals were developed in the programme.

- The impact programme provided us with an understanding of how the Finnish National Agency for Education should promote support for integration in its work. The integration of immigrants is a two-way process and our aim is now to better identify and dismantle the hidden, often subconscious unequal structures and power relationships. We will focus especially on how different people are represented in learning, teaching and education and how we name and deal with the phenomena, matters and people related to integration, immigration and racism, explains Anne Kolehmainen, Senior Adviser responsible for the coordination of integration.

Role of Finnish National Agency for Education in supporting integration

In Finland, learners with an immigrant background mainly participate in the same education, instruction and training as the rest of the population. Linguistic and cultural diversity are paid attention to in the national core curricula drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education for the different levels of education and for early childhood education and care (ECEC). Supporting language-aware teaching and education is also an important part of the support provided to learners with an immigrant background at all levels of education from ECEC to continuous learning. Separate support, preparatory instruction or training, and Finnish or Swedish as a second language are also offered so that proficiency in the language of instruction, the language of the subjects and other necessary abilities can be achieved. Along with internationalisation at home, internationalisation will become more common in different learning environments and intercultural understanding and global awareness will increase at school.

The Finnish National Agency for Education is also responsible for drawing up the National core curriculum for integration training for adult immigrants. The new National core curriculum currently being drawn up emphasises the perspectives of language awareness, individual guidance and stronger participation of students. Furthermore, many of the tasks of the Finnish National Agency for Education, such as the development of guidance, internationalisation services, Erasmus+, the European Solidarity Corps and recognition of foreign qualifications, promote and support participation, integration and the building of a diverse society.

Receptiveness of society and antiracism support integration

Supporting integration and building a diverse society are extensive phenomena and developing them requires multiple points of view, new ideas and experiments, competence and sharing of competence. For this reason, the Finnish National Agency for Education strives to find new, even more effective operating practices.

We want to continue the discussion and learning about antiracism and the promotion of receptiveness of society together with researchers, thinkers, NGOs, public authorities, learners and the staff of ECEC units and educational institutions. In addition, we develop the ability to create safer discussion environments and discuss societal phenomena in a constructive and solution-focused manner and make sure that those affected by these matters in their daily life are included in the discussion. We participate in the Well Said project of YLE, which is aimed at developing the Finnish discussion culture and inspiring people to join the discussion in which other people are respected and different views are appreciated.

We will organise a workshop on antiracism in learning, teaching and education on 29 November 2021 from 12.00 to 15.00. Welcome to join us!