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All Points North #53: How equitable is Finland's higher education system, anyway?

A recent OECD report says Finland's highly selective universities must start easing their admission requirements, as too many young people are being left behind.

Kids feet.
Image: Yle News
Yle News

This week's APN digs deep into the issue of Finland's higher education system, questioning whether socioeconomic factors play a role in young people gaining entry into Finnish universities.

Education sociologist Sonja Kosunen from the University of Helsinki joined APN to talk about her analysis of "hidden privatisation" in Finland's higher education circles. She said that the combination of private comprehensive school tutors, expensive admission exam prep courses and the outgoing government's transfer of some university and vocational school funding to private companies are examples of this encroaching phenomenon.

Despite Finland's veneer of an equitable system, Kosunen argues that well-off families may in fact have the upper hand in helping their kids secure a spot in Finnish universities, as their location, status and pocketbooks give their offspring a tangible advantage.

While Finland has famously held top spots among OECD countries for its education system overall, a recent assessment from the group notes a worrying trend whereby teens have an increasingly difficult time stepping from the halls of high school into tertiary education.

Adina Nivukoskifrom the Union of Upper Secondary School students - a soon-to-be high school graduate - also joined the discussion, providing a glimpse into some of the issues that her peers are dealing with today.

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The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun)and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

This week's show was presented by Zena Iovino and Pamela Kaskinen. Our producer was Lydia Taylerson and this week's sound engineer was Juha Sarkkinen.

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