Radical staff cuts at University of Helsinki – 980 employees gone by the end of 2017

The number of staff at the University of Helsinki will be reduced by approximately 980 by the end of 2017.. The university estimates that of these 980, terminations will account for 570. Of the employees to be terminated, 75 will represent teaching and research staff and 495 other staff.

“I have never heard about anything like this before, a university reducing its staff to this extent. It raises serious questions about whether we can maintain the current level of high quality research and teaching at the University of Helsinki,” says Gunilla Holm, Director of the NCoE JustEd and Professor at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki.

Rector Jukka Kola says that staff cuts are unavoidable because of the rapid and dramatic reduction in funding. The need for the University of Helsinki cost-cutting will amount to 106 million euros by the end of the term of Prime Minister Sipilä’s Government in 2019–2020. Almost half of this sum must be saved during the current year. Staff costs make up about two-thirds of the university’s total expenses.

The terminations will be carried out during spring 2016. The current investigation concerning the national distribution of duties between universities may lead to further terminations later.

Read more here.

Completely changed values in the Nordic countries – is this what we want?

“Math and science have become privileged areas of the school curriculum, and make some children into the desired future citizens in society and doom some other children to be at the margins,” says Professor Paola Valero, member of JustEd team 3.

“In this process some pupils align with core desired values in society such as scientific rationality, objectivity, technological agency, self-regulation and entrepreneurship; while others distance from these values, and thus from scientific and mathematical forms of seeing and being in the world,” states Paola.

Paola Valero is professor of Education in Mathematics and Science at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University, and her research area is the politics of education, more precisely in(ex)clusion in mathematics and science.

“Nordic governments portray mathematics and science education as key school subjects to support the maintenance and development of welfare in a global, competitive world. However, the pedagogical and learning practices connected to mathematics and science education operate classifications of students. These classifications may potentially lead to the exclusion of certain types of students from education and society,” says Paola.

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Vacant job: research assistant for the Project “Gender in teacher education”

We are looking for a research assistant (part time) for our project “Gender in teacher education: a Nordic project with teacher educators and teacher education students”, which is a spin-off project of the Nordic Centre of Excellence Justice through Education (JustEd).

Within the project we are building a Nordic website for teacher education and their students with resources for gender awareness in teaching.

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Doctoral thesis about school choice appealed to media in Finland

Image1The doctoral dissertation of Sonja Kosunen, member of JustEd team 1, has gained a lot of attention from the Finnish media in January. Her dissertation “Families and the social space of school choice in Urban Finland” sheds light on the school choices made by families in the city of Espoo in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The study shows that the assumption that Finnish education is of equally high quality across schools is somewhat false, at least on the level of symbolic prestige and reputation in the parental imagination.

After Sonja’s dissertation defence, her research was first topic on the main news forecast on the national TV. More interesting was that the Finnish Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen commented on the topic and said that she will ask the National Board of Education for a report concerning equality in school choice, especially in terms of aptitude-tests and entrance examinations.

The news can be seen here, first 6 minutes (in Finnish).

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