Graduate or pay! Unjust proposal to speed up graduation

The value choices of the government negotiators are cloaked in a robe of austerity.

The student union JAMKO was shocked by the Ministry of Finance’s proposal, published on Monday 29 May, which aims to tighten the deadline for students to graduate by eliminating student loan credits, reducing the number of months of financial aid and even collecting tuition fees for overdue years.

In principle, JAMKO finds it unusual that government negotiators led by Petteri Orpo have sought answers to education issues from the Ministry of Finance. Up-to-date information on the situation of students and education would more likely be found at the Ministry of Education and Culture. If the Ministry of Finance’s proposal were to be implemented, equality in education, what remains of student well-being and dreams of continuous learning could be thrown into the scrap heap.

The proposal appears to be a systematic way of burning out future professionals at the starting point. By adding tuition fees for studies that go ‘over time’, the burden is increased on those who are already struggling. In the case of UAS studies, most of the final studies are internships, so a student who does a full week in an internship will have to raise funds somewhere in between to pay for the internship. Where does this time come from when you also need to rest and recuperate? Tightening up, such as the abolition of subsidised months, puts students under undue stress and does not take into account individual situations, such as students with families, let alone the fact that UAS students are already in difficulties like never before.

“We no longer know what is wanted of us,” says Lauri Kujala, Chairperson of the JAMKO Board. “Students’ only job should be to study, but it is being forced to become a sideline, to be done hastily at the cost of their own well-being. As long as we get students into working life, regardless of their condition when they enter the workforce.”

At present, science and education are being replaced by degree factories where, like chicken incubators, quantity replaces quality. If skilled workforce is wanted, how about trying these remedies: quality guidance, financial support for students to enable them to study full-time, support for students’ individual needs and an adequately resourced education system that ensures genuine competence.

Chairperson Lauri Kujala

Executive director Ismo Puhakka

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