Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto

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  • The Turkish education system has come under attack from the part of the Turkish government. After the failed coup attempt last weekend, the government has undertaken systematic efforts to dismantle Turkish justice and education systems. So far 21 000 teachers, 15 200 education services employees and 1 577 managers of higher education including presidents and deans, have been dismissed or otherwise excluded from their positions.

    “Authoritative regimes have also before exerted control by attacking education. This kind of activity is to be harshly condemned by all countries”, Heikki Koponen, the chairman of SYL says. “We urge prime minister Sipilä along with his government to take a strong condemning stance against the late actions of the Turkish government”, Koponen continues. The cooperation agreed upon with Turkey to deal with the refugee crisis in Europe can not mean silence in the face of human rights violations.

    Quality education is a necessary prerequisite for the development of any country. The attempt to systematically dismantle the Turkish education system is intolerable.

    Additional information:

    Heikki Koponen, president, tel 044 906 5007, firstname.lastname@syl.fi

    Alviina Alametsä, board member, tel 044 906 5003, firstname.lastname@syl.fi

  • “Free contraception is a central sexual and reproductive health right”, says President Heikki Koponen of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL). Young people have a right to be healthy. No one should have to depend on abortion. SYL wants to see a legislation that defines the responsibility of municipalities and student healthcare to supply free birth control for all youth under 25 years of age. Young people should have access to free contraception, both hormonal and condoms.

    » Read more

  • There has been a lot of action at the office as well as in everyday politics. Below a short summary of some of the themes we have been working on .

    Education policy

    The funding negotiations between the ministry and the universities are ongoing. We at SYL have been monitoring the situation closely. The government needs to respect the autonomy of the universities, but to strategically steer them is not out of the question.

    The debate on structural development continues. For one, Tampere3 is going forward quickly. SYL is keeping in close contact with the ministry and we are monitoring the local projects. SYL has long been a proponent of structural reform.

    The state budget negotiations ended with focusing a 105 million investment in flexible study paths, digital learning environments, and supporting young researchers. We have proposed some investment objects of our own, including a nationwide “exams aquarium”.

    There is a drive to reform the entrance examinations. The goal is for young people to enter higher education more quickly. SYL finds that there is room for improvement both with regards to the matriculation exams as well as the entrance exams. We need to get away from the over-valuing of learning by heart.

    Learning event

    SYL is organising a completely new kind of of international learning event on 18–19 October in Helsinki. Our aim is to gather 4,000 participants, the major part of which we hope to consist of international actors, including politicians, state officials, researchers of learning, teachers and trainers, creators of learning materials, tools and technologies as well as organisations focusing on education export. The event will be an official part of the Finland100 centenary, but we intend to secure the continuation of this in such a way that the learning event can be organised regularly also after the centenary.

    SYL will create a learning event where participants experience and interact, an event that will put Finland in the centre of global education and learning.

    International affairs

    1)      Do international students find jobs, and if not, why not?

    SYL together with our partners is looking for a solution for a tricky challenge. This is a challenge that weakens the competitiveness of Finland. Less than half of the international students who would like to remain in Finland, are able to get a job. Jobs often do not correspond to one’s education, and at the University of Helsinki up to 36% of the students see racism as an obstacle to employment. SYL is aiming to identify best practices to solve this problem and to show what students experience by filming. Stay tuned!

    2) International advocacy – Finland now has a representative on the Executive Committee of the European union of national student unions

    The Board Meeting of the European Students’ Union took place on 12 to 13 Mat 2016 in Bergen, Norway. One important goal for the Finnish delegation was reached when Gramoz Shpendi from SAMOK was elected to the Executive Committee of ESU..This means that SYL as well will have a direct communication channel to the European level. Among other things, ESU influences the Bologna Process and how students’ rights are implemented. SYL also carries out our own advocacy work towards the European Parliament, for instance.

    3) Easy mobility! The European Union eases the criteria for visas for student and researchers.

    In the future, students from outside the EU can stay for nine months to look for a job after having graduated. From now on, the student will have a right to work 15 hours per week also when they are in the country as an exchange student. In some cases, the student does not even have to apply for a visa or residence permit, btu only need to report that they are staying or moving in the EU. The expectation is that this will increase the competitiveness of Europe on the global education market. Read more here: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20160512214927950

    Development cooperation

    1)      The cuts implemented by the state hurt organisations – SYL reorganising our development cooperation

    2)      Development Cooperation Theme Week 2016 10–16.10.2016

    Eight student unions from all across Finland take part in the development cooperation theme week.This year, the week will focus on the sustainability goals set by the UN (Agenda 2030) as well as encouraging student to think about towards what kind of world they want to work before 2030. During the week, students can get to know the Agenda goals and we will work to raise awareness about how the everyday life of students in Finland is connected to the developing world, and the other way around.

    3) Together with our partner organisation Afortalecer in Mozambique, SYL carried out a project focusing on improving the reading and writing skills of children in grades 1 and 2 during 2013–2015. In the schools in the project, a total of 2,628 pupils got an exercise book of their own, which they could use for practising writing. Classrooms were equipped with bookshelves where children’s books were made available. The teachers also took part in continuing education where they learned to, for instance, take into account and pay attention to different styles of learning as well as learning disabilities. According to the teachers, the motivation of the pupils increased thanks to the new teaching methods. The city of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, has also expressed interest in this model.

    The social and health care reform and student health care

    The social and health care reform “Sote” has a significant bearing also on students. We are particularly interested in student health care and the future for the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS).  SYL is working hard to secure the status of the FSHS in the reform as well as for ensuring that FSHS in the future can provide good quality health care services to all higher education students in Finland. Legislation on this is being prepared as we speak, and this autumn we can expect negotiations and legislative processes on funding and freedom of choice.

    Student financial aid and a basic income

    The slashing of student financial aid will further weaken the social welfare for higher education students. During the mandate of this Government, cuts of more than 100 million euro will be implemented. The cuts directed at the student financial aid are now in the preparatory legislative process and will be sent for comments during summer. Moving students to be part of the general housing allowance is also being prepared.

    SYL aims at ensuring a broad societal debate on student welfare. Our long term goal is an individual, common basic income for all, without any requirements for what one needs to do to receive it. We think it is important to include students in the basic income trial.

  • SYL’s new International Officer is Fatim Diarra, 30, a student of Social Sciences and Public Ethics.

    Tell us a little about your background: Where you study, your experience of international affairs, how well you know the student unions.

    I’ve studied social sciences in Jyväskylä as well as now actively a student of public ethics at the University of Helsinki at the Department of Theology. I got interested in international affairs when on exchange in Canada in upper secondary school. Sometimes you have to travel far enough to learn something surprising about yourself. I’ve been working with international affairs in the Union of Upper Secondary School Students in Finland, the Guides and Scouts of Finland, and in Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi.

    Out of the student unions, I’ve been involved in both JYY and HYY. It’s been great to see the operations of two very different student unions and it’s always good to learn that there is more than one way to do things well.

    » Read more

  • The Executive Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) has appointed Fatim Diarra International Officer. Diarra, aged 30, has studied Social Sciences and Public Ethics. The international officer is a part of SYL’s advocacy secretariat. Diarra’s tasks include EU advocacy and international relations – especially the European Students’ Union (ESU) and collaboration with Nordic and Baltic national students’ unions – as well as advocacy for international students and the internationalisation of Finnish higher education.

    Diarra is studying Public Ethics at the University of Helsinki and Social Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä. Diarra has extensive experience of international organisation cooperation and has held several positions of trust in the field of European youth policy. They have also been active at the student unions at the univerisities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki. Diarra is currently employed as special class teacher in Vantaa.

    Diarra will commence their new post in the beginning of August.

    More information:

    SYL Secretary General Eero Manninen, tel. +358 45 631 7145

  • One of the organisations at Lapinrinne is the research foundation Otus, of which SYL was one of the founding members. We interviewed Tiia, who is a researcher at Otus, about what they do at Otus and what sort of research they are working on right now.

     What is Otus and what does it do?

    The research foundation for education and studies Otus is a multidisciplinary, not for profit, expert organisation that knows everything there is to know about students. Almost everything at least. At Otus, we carry out surveys and research about students. We also work with development and training. Our data and material is of good quality and extensive and can produce information that can be generalised about students from secondary education to higher education. Themes covered include special student groups, student health and wellbeing, students’ work and income, equality and equity among student as well as education policy.

    Otus was founded in 1985. The foundation published several reports on the topic of students and education. We collaborate with many different organisations both in the public sector, NGOs as well business life in order to promote the status and wellbeing of students. Currently, Otus employs seven researcher-developers, who are all full of ideas as well as a total of 39 years of expertise as experts on students and education. With diverse backgrounds in pedagogy and social sciences, we are particularly good at applied and diverse method knowledge.

    » Read more

  • Siiri Nousiainen, Alviina Alametsä and Cecilia Pellosniemi participated as representatives of SYL in the board meeting (BM) and the BM seminar Global Student Voice of the European Students’ Union (ESU) on 9 to 14 May in Bergen, Norway. As members of ESU, national students’ unions from all around Europe gather twice a year to decide on, for instance, our common policies on EU advocacy and electing the members of ESU’s Executive Committee (EC).

    It is 1:30 – after midnight. Working out the details for the membership strategy for the discussion during the BM the following afternoon is still in progress at the group meeting. After a short night’s sleep, the meeting resumes in the morning and continues into night. Apart from a couple of short breaks for eating, I sit in the meeting room from morning until night – in total around 18 hours.

    » Read more

  • When student admissions become a hot topic, it is a sure sign of summer approaching. Thousands of young people are currently preparing for their coming challenges. Many of them finished upper secondary school this spring and are moving on from that reading to entrance exam literature. To get young people out on the labour market sooner is one of the goals of the Finnish Government. The Government is trying to promote this by making the transfer from secondary education to higher education faster.

    The criteria used for admitting students  roughly divide the people discussing it into two camps: One of them underlines the status of the entrance exams and heavily defends them, while at the same time questioning the importance of the matriculation exams. The other side again defends the matriculation exams and wants to see their importance even more pronounced in student admissions.

    » Read more

  • In April, SYL Executive Board Member Alviina Alametsä and International Officer Cecilia Pellosniemi participated in the fifth ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum in Prague. The event, arranged by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) brought together students, business life representatives and rectors from both Asia and Europe. The days were filled with workshops, panel discussions and sharing experiences. During the trip, we worked on joint Asian-European policy recommendations for developing higher education, working life relevance and mobility. Alviina chaired one group working on the recommendations, and Cecilia served as secretary and worked in the late night finishing group.

    » Read more

  • China is a country that makes you think about things. A little while back, I returned from a week’s journey in Beijing and my everyday worries and thoughts back home suddenly felt a lot less significant. My consciousness is still working on processing the pace of change I observed in China and fit it to Finnish reality.

    YLE news includes an excellent example of Chinese speed and ambition. YLE reports that the development bank for rural China intends to during the next four years invest 400 billion euro in developing rural areas. This connects to the ambition of the Chinese State to entirely eradicate poverty within the next four years.

    » Read more

» Selaa uutisia

  • There has been a lot of action at the office as well as in everyday politics. Below a short summary of some of the themes we have been working on .

    Education policy

    The funding negotiations between the ministry and the universities are ongoing. We at SYL have been monitoring the situation closely. The government needs to respect the autonomy of the universities, but to strategically steer them is not out of the question.

    The debate on structural development continues. For one, Tampere3 is going forward quickly. SYL is keeping in close contact with the ministry and we are monitoring the local projects. SYL has long been a proponent of structural reform.

    The state budget negotiations ended with focusing a 105 million investment in flexible study paths, digital learning environments, and supporting young researchers. We have proposed some investment objects of our own, including a nationwide “exams aquarium”.

    There is a drive to reform the entrance examinations. The goal is for young people to enter higher education more quickly. SYL finds that there is room for improvement both with regards to the matriculation exams as well as the entrance exams. We need to get away from the over-valuing of learning by heart.

    Learning event

    SYL is organising a completely new kind of of international learning event on 18–19 October in Helsinki. Our aim is to gather 4,000 participants, the major part of which we hope to consist of international actors, including politicians, state officials, researchers of learning, teachers and trainers, creators of learning materials, tools and technologies as well as organisations focusing on education export. The event will be an official part of the Finland100 centenary, but we intend to secure the continuation of this in such a way that the learning event can be organised regularly also after the centenary.

    SYL will create a learning event where participants experience and interact, an event that will put Finland in the centre of global education and learning.

    International affairs

    1)      Do international students find jobs, and if not, why not?

    SYL together with our partners is looking for a solution for a tricky challenge. This is a challenge that weakens the competitiveness of Finland. Less than half of the international students who would like to remain in Finland, are able to get a job. Jobs often do not correspond to one’s education, and at the University of Helsinki up to 36% of the students see racism as an obstacle to employment. SYL is aiming to identify best practices to solve this problem and to show what students experience by filming. Stay tuned!

    2) International advocacy – Finland now has a representative on the Executive Committee of the European union of national student unions

    The Board Meeting of the European Students’ Union took place on 12 to 13 Mat 2016 in Bergen, Norway. One important goal for the Finnish delegation was reached when Gramoz Shpendi from SAMOK was elected to the Executive Committee of ESU..This means that SYL as well will have a direct communication channel to the European level. Among other things, ESU influences the Bologna Process and how students’ rights are implemented. SYL also carries out our own advocacy work towards the European Parliament, for instance.

    3) Easy mobility! The European Union eases the criteria for visas for student and researchers.

    In the future, students from outside the EU can stay for nine months to look for a job after having graduated. From now on, the student will have a right to work 15 hours per week also when they are in the country as an exchange student. In some cases, the student does not even have to apply for a visa or residence permit, btu only need to report that they are staying or moving in the EU. The expectation is that this will increase the competitiveness of Europe on the global education market. Read more here: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20160512214927950

    Development cooperation

    1)      The cuts implemented by the state hurt organisations – SYL reorganising our development cooperation

    2)      Development Cooperation Theme Week 2016 10–16.10.2016

    Eight student unions from all across Finland take part in the development cooperation theme week.This year, the week will focus on the sustainability goals set by the UN (Agenda 2030) as well as encouraging student to think about towards what kind of world they want to work before 2030. During the week, students can get to know the Agenda goals and we will work to raise awareness about how the everyday life of students in Finland is connected to the developing world, and the other way around.

    3) Together with our partner organisation Afortalecer in Mozambique, SYL carried out a project focusing on improving the reading and writing skills of children in grades 1 and 2 during 2013–2015. In the schools in the project, a total of 2,628 pupils got an exercise book of their own, which they could use for practising writing. Classrooms were equipped with bookshelves where children’s books were made available. The teachers also took part in continuing education where they learned to, for instance, take into account and pay attention to different styles of learning as well as learning disabilities. According to the teachers, the motivation of the pupils increased thanks to the new teaching methods. The city of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, has also expressed interest in this model.

    The social and health care reform and student health care

    The social and health care reform “Sote” has a significant bearing also on students. We are particularly interested in student health care and the future for the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS).  SYL is working hard to secure the status of the FSHS in the reform as well as for ensuring that FSHS in the future can provide good quality health care services to all higher education students in Finland. Legislation on this is being prepared as we speak, and this autumn we can expect negotiations and legislative processes on funding and freedom of choice.

    Student financial aid and a basic income

    The slashing of student financial aid will further weaken the social welfare for higher education students. During the mandate of this Government, cuts of more than 100 million euro will be implemented. The cuts directed at the student financial aid are now in the preparatory legislative process and will be sent for comments during summer. Moving students to be part of the general housing allowance is also being prepared.

    SYL aims at ensuring a broad societal debate on student welfare. Our long term goal is an individual, common basic income for all, without any requirements for what one needs to do to receive it. We think it is important to include students in the basic income trial.

  • SYL’s new International Officer is Fatim Diarra, 30, a student of Social Sciences and Public Ethics.

    Tell us a little about your background: Where you study, your experience of international affairs, how well you know the student unions.

    I’ve studied social sciences in Jyväskylä as well as now actively a student of public ethics at the University of Helsinki at the Department of Theology. I got interested in international affairs when on exchange in Canada in upper secondary school. Sometimes you have to travel far enough to learn something surprising about yourself. I’ve been working with international affairs in the Union of Upper Secondary School Students in Finland, the Guides and Scouts of Finland, and in Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi.

    Out of the student unions, I’ve been involved in both JYY and HYY. It’s been great to see the operations of two very different student unions and it’s always good to learn that there is more than one way to do things well.

    » Jatka lukemista

  • One of the organisations at Lapinrinne is the research foundation Otus, of which SYL was one of the founding members. We interviewed Tiia, who is a researcher at Otus, about what they do at Otus and what sort of research they are working on right now.

     What is Otus and what does it do?

    The research foundation for education and studies Otus is a multidisciplinary, not for profit, expert organisation that knows everything there is to know about students. Almost everything at least. At Otus, we carry out surveys and research about students. We also work with development and training. Our data and material is of good quality and extensive and can produce information that can be generalised about students from secondary education to higher education. Themes covered include special student groups, student health and wellbeing, students’ work and income, equality and equity among student as well as education policy.

    Otus was founded in 1985. The foundation published several reports on the topic of students and education. We collaborate with many different organisations both in the public sector, NGOs as well business life in order to promote the status and wellbeing of students. Currently, Otus employs seven researcher-developers, who are all full of ideas as well as a total of 39 years of expertise as experts on students and education. With diverse backgrounds in pedagogy and social sciences, we are particularly good at applied and diverse method knowledge.

    » Jatka lukemista

  • In April, SYL Executive Board Member Alviina Alametsä and International Officer Cecilia Pellosniemi participated in the fifth ASEM Rectors’ Conference and Students’ Forum in Prague. The event, arranged by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) brought together students, business life representatives and rectors from both Asia and Europe. The days were filled with workshops, panel discussions and sharing experiences. During the trip, we worked on joint Asian-European policy recommendations for developing higher education, working life relevance and mobility. Alviina chaired one group working on the recommendations, and Cecilia served as secretary and worked in the late night finishing group.

    » Jatka lukemista

  • The SYL head office will be on vacation from around Midsummer to the second week of August (24 June to 7 August). During the summer months, you can reach us as follows:
    Secretary General Eero Manninen 23.6–3.7.
    President Heikki Koponen 4–10.7.
    The entire board and the Secretary General 11–17.7.
    Vice President Siiri Nousiainen 18–24.7.
    Secretary General Eero Manninen 25–31.7.
    President Heikki Koponen 1–7.8.

    The person on call is best reached by phone. Our monthly newsletter Sylofone will next appear in August. See our website for contact information: http://www.syl.fi/yhteystiedot/.
    All of us at SYL wish you a sunny and relaxing summer!

  • The Executive Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) has appointed Fatim Diarra International Officer. Diarra, aged 30, has studied Social Sciences and Public Ethics. The international officer is a part of SYL advocacy secretariat. Diarra tasks include EU advocacy and international relations – especially the European Students Union (ESU) and collaboration with Nordic and Baltic national student unions – as well as advocacy for international students and the internationalisation of Finnish higher education.

    Diarra is studying Public Ethics at the University of Helsinki and Social Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä. Diarra has extensive experience of international organisation cooperation and has held several positions of trust in the field of European youth policy. They have also been active at the student unions at the univerisities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki. Diarra is currently employed as special class teacher in Vantaa.

    Diarra will commence their new post in the beginning of August.

    More information:

    SYL Secretary General Eero Manninen, tel. +358 45 631 7145

    Fatim Diarra, tel. +358 44 288 5805

  • Press release

    Monday 4 April 2016

     

    The nonaligned student organisations in Finland are worried about the future of Finnish education. For the past year, education news have been depressing reading: The rise in the level of education level in Finland has stopped and we are now falling behind other OECD countries, the reading skills of Finnish youth has declined and young people are becoming more cynical towards education. Exhaustion and mental health problems have increased among students. The extensive education cuts cast a long shadow over our education system. Students fear that the education sector will suffer also during the upcoming negotiations on the state budget.

    » Jatka lukemista

  • 18 March 2016

     

    SYL’s head office quietens for a week over Easter, 21–28.3.2016. Both the staff and the board are on holiday. We return Tuesday 29 March.

    In urgent matters, please contact President Heikki Koponen (firstname.surname@syl.fi, tel. +358 44 906 5007) and from Wednesday 23 March Vice-President Siiri Nousiainen (firstname.surname@syl.fi, tel. +358 44 906 5005).

    We wish you all a sunny and relaxing Easter!

  •  

    Statement

    For release 9.3.2016

    The national unions of higher education students in Finland, SAMOK and SYL, together with their member unions and second-level student organisations organise a protest against the cutbacks to student financial aid. Thousands from all over Finland are expected to take part.

    ‘Cutting the student financial aid equals cutting from the poorest group in society and from Finland’s future. Increasing the loan ratio in student financial aid and violent cutbacks combined with the instability in the economy and on the labour market paints a very dark future for young people contemplating higher education studies. No matter that economics professors keep repeating that the student loan is a sound investment, the message is hard to believe. The current Government offers young people very little to believe in for the future,’ states SAMOK President Jemi Heinilä.

    » Jatka lukemista

  • Press release
    26 February 2016

     

    Higher education students were satisfied with the services provided by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS). FSHS is suitable also for providing healthcare for students at universities of applied sciences (UAS). These are some of the conclusions from the final report of the planning and implementation group for the FSHS pilot. Today the group submitted its final report to Juha Rehula, the Finnish Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services.

    The national unions of higher education students in Finland, SAMOK and SYL, emphasise that already for years they have been prepared to extend FSHS’ high quality healthcare services to encompass all higher education students.

    » Jatka lukemista

» Selaa uutisia

  • The Turkish education system has come under attack from the part of the Turkish government. After the failed coup attempt last weekend, the government has undertaken systematic efforts to dismantle Turkish justice and education systems. So far 21 000 teachers, 15 200 education services employees and 1 577 managers of higher education including presidents and deans, have been dismissed or otherwise excluded from their positions.

    “Authoritative regimes have also before exerted control by attacking education. This kind of activity is to be harshly condemned by all countries”, Heikki Koponen, the chairman of SYL says. “We urge prime minister Sipilä along with his government to take a strong condemning stance against the late actions of the Turkish government”, Koponen continues. The cooperation agreed upon with Turkey to deal with the refugee crisis in Europe can not mean silence in the face of human rights violations.

    Quality education is a necessary prerequisite for the development of any country. The attempt to systematically dismantle the Turkish education system is intolerable.

    Additional information:

    Heikki Koponen, president, tel 044 906 5007, firstname.lastname@syl.fi

    Alviina Alametsä, board member, tel 044 906 5003, firstname.lastname@syl.fi

  • “Free contraception is a central sexual and reproductive health right”, says President Heikki Koponen of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL). Young people have a right to be healthy. No one should have to depend on abortion. SYL wants to see a legislation that defines the responsibility of municipalities and student healthcare to supply free birth control for all youth under 25 years of age. Young people should have access to free contraception, both hormonal and condoms.

    The Finnish Health Care Act defines that the responsibility for promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) lies with municipalities and student health care. Legislative changes can ensure free and equal contraception for all young people in Finland. Municipalities need to improve SRHR services for youth, state the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (MSAH) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in their recommendations.

    Studies show that access to free contraception increases the use of it. In municipalities providing free contraception, teen abortions and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) decreased notably. In Rauma, for instance, where free contraception for young people was introduced in 2011, the number of cases of chlamydia has fallen by one third among people younger than 20-year-old. Free contraception has been estimated to save Rauma 100,000 euro annually.

    “Although providing free contraception can cut healthcare costs significantly, the most important aspect is that young people remain healthy and well, and that they do not have to experience terminating a pregnancy. Most abortions are made in the age group 20-24-year-old. The people in this age group are often students of limited means, for whom contraception may be an unreasonable expense,” comments Annu Komulainen, member of SYL’s Executive Board.

    Along with free contraception, we need to pay more attention to the patterns of sexual behaviour among youth. SYL demands diverse low-threshold contraception services for young people. These are to include services where young people can receive advice about sexual integrity, taking action and getting help in cases of sexual violence, as well as on sexual health hazards, such as sexually transmitted infections. The services must also consider LGBTIQ* persons.

    More information:

    Heikki Koponen, President, tel. +358 44 906 5007, firstname.surname@syl.fi

    Annu Komulainen, Board Member (wellbeing), tel. +358 44 906 5004, firstname.surname@syl.fi

    *LGBTI is an umbrella term for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer

  • The Executive Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) has appointed Fatim Diarra International Officer. Diarra, aged 30, has studied Social Sciences and Public Ethics. The international officer is a part of SYL’s advocacy secretariat. Diarra’s tasks include EU advocacy and international relations – especially the European Students’ Union (ESU) and collaboration with Nordic and Baltic national students’ unions – as well as advocacy for international students and the internationalisation of Finnish higher education.

    Diarra is studying Public Ethics at the University of Helsinki and Social Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä. Diarra has extensive experience of international organisation cooperation and has held several positions of trust in the field of European youth policy. They have also been active at the student unions at the univerisities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki. Diarra is currently employed as special class teacher in Vantaa.

    Diarra will commence their new post in the beginning of August.

    More information:

    SYL Secretary General Eero Manninen, tel. +358 45 631 7145

  • The SYL head office will be on vacation from around Midsummer to the second week of August (24 June to 7 August). During the summer months, you can reach us as follows:
    Secretary General Eero Manninen 23.6–3.7.
    President Heikki Koponen 4–10.7.
    The entire board and the Secretary General 11–17.7.
    Vice President Siiri Nousiainen 18–24.7.
    Secretary General Eero Manninen 25–31.7.
    President Heikki Koponen 1–7.8.

    The person on call is best reached by phone. Our monthly newsletter Sylofone will next appear in August. See our website for contact information: http://www.syl.fi/yhteystiedot/.
    All of us at SYL wish you a sunny and relaxing summer!

  • The Executive Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) has appointed Fatim Diarra International Officer. Diarra, aged 30, has studied Social Sciences and Public Ethics. The international officer is a part of SYL advocacy secretariat. Diarra tasks include EU advocacy and international relations – especially the European Students Union (ESU) and collaboration with Nordic and Baltic national student unions – as well as advocacy for international students and the internationalisation of Finnish higher education.

    Diarra is studying Public Ethics at the University of Helsinki and Social Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä. Diarra has extensive experience of international organisation cooperation and has held several positions of trust in the field of European youth policy. They have also been active at the student unions at the univerisities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki. Diarra is currently employed as special class teacher in Vantaa.

    Diarra will commence their new post in the beginning of August.

    More information:

    SYL Secretary General Eero Manninen, tel. +358 45 631 7145

    Fatim Diarra, tel. +358 44 288 5805

  • The Executive Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) has appointed Niina Jurva Coordinator of Societal Relations. Jurva is 30 years old and studies Social Sciences. Jurva is currently employed as Education Policy Officer at SYL. This is a new position that will be incorporated in their current job description.

    The coordinator of societal relations handles the scheduling of SYL’s advocacy work. They are also a particular support for the executive board in its advocacy work. During the year to come, Jurva will develop a new job description together with the secretary general, the president, and our advocacy staff.

    The development project and the new job description is a part of SYL’s development plan, which was written on the basis of the recommendations from the development group. The goal is an ever more effective supervision of students’ interests.

    More information:

    SYL Secretary General Juha Töyrylä, tel. +358 41 515 2229

    Niina Jurva, tel. +358 41 515 2230

  • Press release
    For release 26.4.2016

    The National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) responds to the challenge issued by the centenary of Finland’s independence in 2017 by initiating a project to build a global centre for learning in Finland. Yesterday, SYL submitted an application for projects with a social dimension aimed at strengthening Finland’s future.

    We have already begun assembling a team for the project and, among others, the labour market unions Akava, SAK, and STTK as well as the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) have expressed their support for the project. We want assemble the most diverse possible group of societal organisations for the project.

    “Finland is renowned globally as one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to knowhow and education. We want to see Finland keep its position as such and make Finland a place you come to learn about learning,” says SYL President Heikki Koponen. “Our first step will be to in autumn 2017 organise the world’s most diverse international learning event. The event will be realised in line with the theme of the centenary in collaboration with business life, civic society, and the public sector. We welcome everyone to participate in building a global learning centre in Finland!”

    We will continue building the global centre for learning long term for several years. For the project, we will establish an independent organisation, which will ensure continuity after the centenary. During 2016–2017, SYL will coordinate the project and the organising of the event together with our project partners. Come join us!

    More information:

    Heikki Koponen, President, (tel. +358 44 906 5007, firstname.surname@syl.fi)

     

  • Press release 1 April 2016

     

    MA Eero Manninen, 31, has been appointed Secretary General for the National Union of University Students in Finland. Manninen is currently employed as Secretary General at the Student Union at the University of Oulu. They have had several positions at the student union and has diverse experience from different positions of trust and boards.  Manninen is known as an active and well liked person in the Finnish university student movement.

    ‘It will be great to continue to work for a better future for students together with the others at SYL,’ says Manninen. ‘SYL and the student movement are living through very challenging times. That’s why during the coming three years we have to develop our union and activities to gain even more influence. The work we do at SYL is important for all of Finland’s future. I want to work on it with a positive attitude together with all the student movement,’ Manninen continues.

    The application process was in several stages. Mercuri Urval was our partner in the suitability evaluation. SYL’s executive board decided on the appointment based on the interviews and evaluations.

    SYL’s secretary general together with the board forms the management of the union. The focus of the work of the secretary general is on advocacy, finances, strategic development, and being the manager of our eight person expert secretariat. The term of office is three years.

    The introduction period starts in May and in August Manninen formally takes over after our current Secretary General Juha Töyrylä.

    Additional information:

    President Heikki Koponen,  +358 44 906 5007, firstname.surname@syl.fi

    Eero Manninen, +358 45 631 7145, eero.manninen@oyy.fi

  • Press release

    Monday 4 April 2016

     

    The nonaligned student organisations in Finland are worried about the future of Finnish education. For the past year, education news have been depressing reading: The rise in the level of education level in Finland has stopped and we are now falling behind other OECD countries, the reading skills of Finnish youth has declined and young people are becoming more cynical towards education. Exhaustion and mental health problems have increased among students. The extensive education cuts cast a long shadow over our education system. Students fear that the education sector will suffer also during the upcoming negotiations on the state budget.

    ‘Politicians often motivate cut-backs by saying that they do not want to leave a debt for their children to pay off. We, as representatives of the young generation, fear that the Government through its actions will leave a much heavier debt for us to pay in the form of an education debt.’ say the presidents of the organisations. Cuts at all levels of education, from early childhood care to higher education, will weaken the quality Finnish education is world-renowned for and nibble off future knowhow. For a teacher without a job or a student left to their own devices it does not matter how unpleasant politicians found the decisions to make.

    The earlier budget cuts in the education sector during both the current and the previous government have been hard on secondary and higher education institutions in the whole country. Those who supply education cannot reform the education system to better meet future demands when simultaneously new decision on cut-backs seem to be made in relation to every government programme and every budget negotiation. We cannot reform the education system without appropriate resources, professionals and researchers in education who are dedicated to their work, or without investing in the wellbeing of students as well as student finances.

    ‘We ask only one thing of the budget negotiators: Give us back our belief in the future!’ the presidents say.

    The organisations will supervise the budgetary framework negotiations and organise a pop up restaurant with student food. Traditional student delicacies will be served to negotiators at 7:30am. The campaign is intended to remind budget negotiators about the consequences slashing student financial aid will have on student finances, which are already in a bad state.

     

    Contact details:

    President Henna Hirvonen (Akavan opiskelijat) tel. 040 768 1365, firstname.lastname@akava.fi

    President Eero Rämö (Finnish Youth Co-Operation – Allianssi) tel. +358 40 539 2737, firstname.lastname@alli.fi

    President Nicholas Kujala (Finlands Svenska Skolungdomsförbund FSS rf) tel. 044 277 8669, firstname.lastname@skolungdom.fi

    President Bennie Wardi (Finnish Student Sports Federation OLL), tel. +358 44 780 0211, firstname.lastname@oll.fi

    President Jasmina Khabbal (Suomen Ammattiin Opiskelevien Liitto – SAKKI), tel. 045 139 3051, firstname.lastname@sakkinet.fi

    President Elli Luukkainen (The Union of Upper Secondary Students in Finland SLL), tel. +358 50 433 3171, firstname.lastname@lukio.fi

    President Rene Stolt (Suomen Opiskelija-Allianssi – OSKU Ry) tel. 044 977 6356,firstname.lastname@osku.info

    President Jemi Heinilä (University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland SAMOK), tel. +358 50 389 1000firstname.lastname@samok.fi

    President Heikki Koponen (National Union of University Students in Finland – SYL), tel. +358 44 906 5007, firstname.surname@syl.fi

    Ordförande Emma Koskimaa (STTK-Opiskelijat) tel. 0405487938,firstname.surname@sttk.fi

     

    1) http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/a1448337176460

    2) http://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2015/09/07/nuorten-lukutaito-rapistuu-huono-osaisuus-selittava-tekija

     

  • 18 March 2016

     

    SYL’s head office quietens for a week over Easter, 21–28.3.2016. Both the staff and the board are on holiday. We return Tuesday 29 March.

    In urgent matters, please contact President Heikki Koponen (firstname.surname@syl.fi, tel. +358 44 906 5007) and from Wednesday 23 March Vice-President Siiri Nousiainen (firstname.surname@syl.fi, tel. +358 44 906 5005).

    We wish you all a sunny and relaxing Easter!

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