A Somali language degree programme will be launched by the University of Helsinki in autumn 2017. A briefer, 15-study point package is already set to begin at the beginning of the autumn semester this year.
In future, the Somali language may be studied all the way through to a master's degree at the Helsinki University.
Somali language courses will be organised as hourly instruction at first, but Faculty of Arts Dean Arto Mustajoki says that a vacancy for a contract Somali language teacher will soon be established.
The number of students who will get to begin their Somali studies is not yet set, but Mustajoki estimates that some 6-8 students will be accepted to the programme annually.
Need based on size of the minority
Mustajoki says that Finland's Somali-speaking minority is now so large that including it as a subject at the University is more than reasonable.
"It will not be solely language instruction either, as the teaching will also include cultural elements," Mustajoki says.
The University of Helsinki also aims to increase the number of students it admits to its Chinese and Arabic philology programmes by 15 places each year, and the number of students studying English philology will be increased by 20-25 people, according to demand.
Admissions to German and French language study programs will in contrast be cut in future, due to a lower demand.