World’s best schools and early childhood education for all

Finland is known for having the best schools in the world. Providing high-quality education for all is our main strength and source of pride. The Left Alliance promotes equal education opportunities for all Finns.
An investment in early childhood education is an investment in well-being as well as the economy. Early childhood education levels out disparities caused by different family backgrounds and improves learning outcomes. In kindergarten, children learn social skills, self-expression and interactive skills. These skills enable future learning and allow children to develop into active citizens.

The Sipilä government has diluted the quality of early childhood education by increasing group sizes and imposing restrictions on the subjective right to day care for families where a parent is unemployed or on child-care leave. Limiting the right to day care creates unequal conditions for children, complicates the everyday lives of families and makes it difficult for parents to take temporary jobs.

Finnish primary schools have the world’s best teachers and highly developed teaching methods. Unfortunately, the best primary school system in the world is facing the onset of educational inequality. Learning outcomes have declined and regional and gender differences have increased. The parents’ education is increasingly a predictor of children’s learning outcomes. The Left Alliance aims to halt the onset of educational inequality in early childhood and other education. We want to make sure that teachers have enough time to devote to their students and that the well-being of both students and teachers is ensured. We need to make sure that the Finnish education system continues to be the best in the world.

Representatives of The Left Alliance commit to the following goals:

Equal rights to early childhood education for all children
Every child must have an equal opportunity to participate in early childhood education. This promotes families’ freedom of choice and equality between children. The subjective right to early childhood education must be restored in municipalities that have abandoned it. Finland must create a system modelled on the Swedish system, where all 3- to 5-year-olds are guaranteed cost-free early childhood education.

Equal primary school, including in the future
We must provide additional financial support for schools that need it. We need to stave off regional inequality by means of affordable housing and urban planning. Entrance exams must not be used when setting up groups in primary education, as they create inequality between teaching groups. Supervised morning and afternoon activities must be organised for younger pupils.

Teaching group sizes must be kept reasonable in early childhood education and primary school
No early childhood education professional must be responsible for more than seven children above the age of three, or four children below the age of three. Primary school teaching groups must not exceed 20 students. Small groups allow teachers to focus on their core duties and enable students to learn at their own pace.

Access to continued studies for all basic education graduates
Immediate access to continued studies must be guaranteed for each and every basic education graduate. Enough places must be available in proportion to the number of adolescents in each municipality. Enough resources must be allocated to professional education in order to guarantee sufficient contact-based teaching.

Digital transformation through attention to students’ individual backgrounds
Digital tools and methods must support teaching. Schools must ensure that all students have access to devices required for teaching. Municipalities must share best practices, for example in IT, by participating in the planning of hardware purchases for educational purposes.

Pupil welfare and support services that meet various needs
The level of school health services and educational welfare officer services and the number of school psychologists must be sufficient, and these services must be easily accessible for children and adolescents. Special needs education must be available at all levels of education and the number of learning support staff must be sufficient. Family and youth work must be organised in seamless cooperation with schools.

Attention to the well-being and development opportunities of staff
Enough resources in terms of working hours must be dedicated to the implementation of the new primary school and gymnasium curricula. Sufficient investments must be made in the wellbeing at work of teaching staff. Training resources must be invested in improving the ICT skills of teaching staff and summer pay must be paid to all staff members.

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