Thousands Sign Initiative For Free Vocational Education Rights

Charity calls for Parliament to look for solutions to bring truly cost-free vocational education to lower income students.

File picture of university student throwing cap into air / Credit: iStock

Students in Finland already enjoy some world-leading free university education.

But a new Citizens’ Initiative aims to put the idea of genuinely cost-free vocational training on Parliament’s agenda.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Save The Children Finland, and has gathered 25,000 signatures so far. If the initiative collects at least 50,000 signatures, then parliament has to look at it.

“For us it’s a question of child rights and about equal rights to study according to ones interests and skills, and we’re thinking that the right isn’t actually working equally” says Nelli Sinisaari, Save The Children campaign coordinator.

Presently, the teaching is free so you don’t have to pay a tuition fee to attend a vocational school. But students have to pay for books and materials – the same as universities – but in universities there are often better facilities like libraries and computers and the chance for students to use those on campus.

In vocational training schools, students mainly have to buy their own books and computers, and with exams moving to digital formats, Save The Children says it’s becoming harder for students who come from lower income families to participate.

“We are asking basically for really free education for high school and vocational training. We’re not campaigning for any one solution, the Citizens’ Initiative says Parliament has to figure it out, and then start acting towards actually free education” Nelli Sinisaari tells News Now Finland.

This citizens’ initiative is open for signatures until 18th March.