Elmo Paloniemi, Chair of the Board, standing outside in front of a red brick building with his arms crossed

Free higher education secures personal and societal development

The basic pillar of the Finnish welfare society is free education. Education from preschool to university is a value, a guarantee of a united and intact society, which must be maintained now and in the future. The free education path guarantees each of us the opportunity to develop ourselves and the society around us. In addition, it guarantees a prerequisite for a society where new innovations are created, through which highly educated people are employed and do good.

A second degree of the same level must be maintained free of charge for personal skill and competence development. Contrary to what the outlook review of the officials published by the Ministry of Education and Culture on February 15 suggests. The outlook review characterizes this as the so-called genuine one-place rule. There is no place for consideration for the need of higher education. This is how we maintain lifelong learning and respond to society's changing needs. The new funding models mentioned in the outlook review must not mean tuition fees in the future. Free higher education is the most accessible and equal way to organize higher education, according to the view of the National Union of University Students in Finland and the National Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences.

The funding of higher education institutions must be guaranteed by improving the basic funding. Without investing in basic funding, it is not possible to achieve the goal of 50 percent of young people having a higher education. As admission numbers increase, improving basic funding also secures the quality and development of education. Free higher education will also secure the basic right for education in the future. The right for education must not be dependent on an individual's socio-economic background. Free higher education must be protected at all costs.


Elmo Paloniemi
Chair of the Executive Board
The Student Union of the University of Vaasa