Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto

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  • Comment 13.5.2015
    Free for publication

    As part of the government negotiations led by Juha Sipilä, the working group’s policies on the EU, immigration, foreign policy and security policy were published today. In the document on immigration, the working group proposes to introduce tuition fees for students who come from non-EU and non-EEA countries.

    The Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – SAMOK and the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) are disappointed by the proposed tuition fees for students from non-EU and non-EEA countries. Free education is the basis of Finnish educational policy and the welfare state, and abolishing it is a serious mistake from the Finnish government.

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  • 150409_koulutuslupaus_puheenjohtajakollaasi_1000x1000px17.4.2015

    The election buzz is on full volume with only a few days left. The parties are putting the finishing touches to their already long-run campaigns. The higher education students’ parliamentary elections campaign #koulutuslupaus (Promise for education) is on its final lap.

    Our social media coverage has reached more than a million and more than 350 candidates have had their pledge for education recorded by taking a #koulutuslupaus campaign picture. These include all the presidents of the current parties in Parliament. Our phone call campaign reached more than 70% of the candidates from those parties.

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  • PrintPress Release 13.4.2015

    A large majority of the candidates in the parliamentary election support the students’ goals. Out of all the candidates from the parties currently in parliament, 73%, i.e. 1083 people took part in the survey which was carried out by the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – SAMOK in cooperation with the student unions.

    Out of the participants 91.5% were of the opinion that there should be no more cuts to higher education. 85.1% agreed that the services of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) should be expanded to also include students at universities of applied sciences. 88% of participants want the student financial aid to remain as it is at the moment.

    The leaders of the student organisations are pleased with how positive the candidates are towards students and education. They hope that the next term will be better than the previous one: that students will be left in peace to study and graduate.

    “Current students are responsible for saving Finland, no more, no less. Now we should guarantee students’ opportunities to study, their income and their health, so that we will still have a welfare state in the future,” president Jari Järvenpää (SYL) and chairperson Joonas Peltonen (SAMOK) say.

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  • 150205_SYL_kuva_SiljaSilvasti_studio_vari_120x180px_web10.4.2015

    If someone would ask me what my main memory is from my year on the board of my student union, I would have to bite my tongue to make sure my reply didn’t start with “being busy”. When it comes to lobbying activities and the working life, a year on the board of a student union or association is often a baptism of fire. A year is a short time, but it can fit a great deal of learning, as well as both mental and physical growth (board kilos, you know what I’m talking about).

    The limited amount of time and resources that we have are put under pressure, particularly this year. As well as running the regular board activities and carrying out the action plan, board members have also had to put a lot of time and effort into the parliamentary election. At best, projects such as parliamentary elections increase team spirit and provide experiences of success, which give people energy for their other tasks and provide direct and concrete results within the usually slow-paced lobbying.

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  • Niina_Jurva_2013_120x180pxPress release 7 April 2015

    The Executive Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) has appointed Niina Jurva Education Policy Officer. Jurva is 29 years old and studies Social Sciences. Jurva succeeds Jarmo Kallunki on the position and will commence work in April.

    Niina Jurva has held several positions of trust both in the Finnish university student movement as well as in NGOs. Jurva is currently finishing up their Master’s Thesis for University of Tampere on the topic of education and social issues. In 2013, Jurva was a member of SYL’s Executive Board with responsibility for international affairs and educational policy. Jurva has done an internship at the Ministry of Education and Culture as a part of the team producing a report on the internationalisation strategies in higher education. Jurva was also a member of the youth group pondering the future of the EU, under the then Minister for European affairs.

    To Jurva’s advantage worked their strong skills in advocacy work as well as broad, in-depth and up-to-date knowledge about Finnish and European higher education policy.  Jurva has considerable experience in the field of operation in question.

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  • 120330_paasiaismunayllatykset2_540x386px_web30.3.2015

    SYL’s office will be empty for about a week over Easter 1–6.4 when both the staff and the secretariat are taking a break. After eating Easter eggs we will get back to work on Tuesday 7th April.

    Everyone at SYL wishes you all a sunny and relaxing Easter break!

  • 27.3.2015

    The European Students’ Union’s (ESU) European Students’ Convention brought participants from all over Europe to Riga on 19–24.3. The topics of the convention were Bologna’s social dimension and access, and during the convention the discussion focused on how quality assurance, pedagogy, financing and mobility relate to accessibility. SYL sent Board Member Janne Hälinen and International Officer Cecilia Pellosniemi to Latvia. The European Students’ Union’s (ESU) European Students’ Convention brought participants from all over Europe to Riga on 19–24.3. SYL sent Board Member Janne Hälinen and International Officer Cecilia Pellosniemi to Latvia.

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  • 20.3.2015

    At the end of February, Europe’s largest conference so far on the social dimension of higher education in Europe was organised in Vienna. Topics that were discussed at the conference included matters related to the livelihood of students, mobility, social background and applying and getting into higher education. During the conference the results from the Eurostudent V research project were presented, and the new round of research, Eurostudent VI, was launched.

    According to the Eurostudent that was published, a relatively large portion of Finnish students’ income goes towards paying for accommodation. Only in France students spend more money on accommodation, relatively speaking, than in Finland. This comparison looked at the situation of undergraduate students. The result isn’t surprising, because Finnish studies have reached the same conclusion. The housing allowance for students hasn’t been increased in ten years, but during that same time the rent paid by students has gone up by more than three percent per year.

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  • 150313_SYL_kuva_mielenosoitus_opintotuki_120.3.2015

    Let’s first repeat the result: the Parliament voted against the government proposal to limit the right to financial aid for a second degree at the same level during the second hearing of the bill on Saturday 14th March. A lot had happened before this point.

    The bill was created during the coalition parties’ budget session in 2014, when the government decided to limit the right to financial aid in order to save 10.5 million euros. Apart from achieving savings, the government also aimed to shorten study times so that students would move into the labour market faster, which would lengthen careers.

    The student movement has always considered the proposal to be irrational. SYL influenced the bill during every preparation stage. We made a statement about the draft act, we were heard by the Education and Culture Committee, we took a stand, and before Christmas we phoned up all the members of the Education and Culture Committee to remind them of how absurd the bill is. The student unions have also been actively exerting influence.

    While the bill was being circulated for comments SYL pointed out that its greatest weaknesses were its effect on lifelong learning and the possibilities to react to changes in the job market. SYL also reminded policy-makers that reducing students’ livelihood is a weak and inefficient way of getting students to graduate faster in a situation where the low level of income is the greatest factor increasing study times. Instead of cutting students’ income the focus should be on developing the structures of the university system so that it would be more flexible to study.

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  • 19.3.2015

    The SYL General Assembly approved a project on organisation development to develop the union’s activities as part of this year’s plan of action. SYL has nominated a working group for this purpose, which will carry out a close analysis of possible changes in SYL’s operating environment and how SYL can respond to them.

    The task of the working group is to get an extensive picture of all of SYL’s activities and organisation, from influencing and lobbying activities to support measures, communication and administration. The group will draw up the necessary proposals for developing lobbying practices and the organisation.

    The working group is made up of expert members and representatives from student unions and SYL’s staff. The expert members have been chosen based on their expertise and knowledge of SYL. The student unions are represented by two people, whose particular task it is to bring a perspective on SYL as a service organisation for the student unions. The staff chose their own representative.

    The working group is chaired by SYL’s President Jari Järvenpää (deputy chair is Iiris Niinikoski) and Secretary General Juha Töyrylä will act as secretary. The expert members are Suvi Eriksson, Panu Laturi, Elina Moisio, Leena Pihlajamäki and Simo Pöyhönen. The staff is represented by Sini Terävä and the students by Rauli Elenius from TYY and Eero Manninen from OYY.

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