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Monday's papers: Free hobbies at schools, BMI link to salary, church membership declining

Monday’s press includes a look at a new government-funded scheme providing free extracurricular activities to children.

18–29-vuotiaista aikuisista vähintään ylipainoisia on naisista 35 prosenttia ja miehistä lähes puolet, eli 47 prosenttia.
Business magazine Talouselämä reports on a link between Body Mass Index (BMI) and salary. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

This spring term, more than 200,000 pupils will have the opportunity to attend extracurricular activities at school, free of charge. More than 100 municipalities across the country are piloting 'The Finnish model', which aims to increase the wellbeing of children and young people, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The model's aim is to give all school kids an equal opportunity to partake in hobbies. The classes will be organised before or after school hours – and some are incorporated into the school day.

The activities range from cookery, theatre and ukulele clubs to braiding and basketball – and almost all schools participating in the pilot scheme will be offering students a chance to try parkour; which was the most-requested hobby by students.

The Ministry of Education and Culture has assigned 6.4 million euros to the scheme, and the plan is to make it a permanent feature of all schools in Finland.

This week is 'News week' in Finnish schools and kindergartens, the paper also reports. Children will be taught tools to improve their critical media literacy skills, among other things.

Is your BMI linked to the salary you receive?

As your Body Mass Index (BMI) rises, your salary decreases, writes business magazine Talouselämä.

According to the paper, a Finnish survey has revealed overweight women are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to women who are classed as being of a normal weight. Another survey has found that 40 percent of Finns have felt that their appearance has impacted whether they have been hired.

"An employee is seen as a company's business card. This means the employee is seen to be a representative of the company's brand. This requires more so-called 'aesthetic work' from the employee," says economic sociologist Iida Kukkonen, who is writing a thesis on appearance associated with inequality.

When a person's BMI increases by one unit, their salary decreases by 6.9 percent according to the survey. The pressures linked with appearance at work are said to affect women more than men.

Church membership on the decline

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has published its membership figures for the last year, reports tabloid Ilta-Sanomat.

Last year, about 48,000 Finns had resigned from the church. The figure was smaller than in the previous three years, when an average of 55,500 Finns resigned.

Church memberships have continued to decline due to the number of people dying exceeding the number of those baptised, and the number of resignations exceeding the number of new members.

An estimated 3.7 million Finns (68 percent of the population) are members of the church.

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