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Friday's papers: Daycare inequality, gender wage gap and a return to summer

A study uncovers huge inequalities among public daycares, wage reforms to female sectors and summer makes a comeback.

Lapsi päiväkodissa, osoittaa sormellaan jotain ylhäällä seinällä olevaa asiaa.
File photo of daycare centre. Image: AOP

Significant quality differences exist between public daycares, writes Helsingin Sanomat, reporting on the findings of a study by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC).

In one half of the daycares that the centre surveyed, staff did not read to the children daily. Many day cares were also failing to provide art and music and physical exercise as outlined by national guidelines.

"The most baffling finding was that staff does not always follow a pedagogic plan for the under-threes because they believe it's too difficult. Some were also of the opinion that children don’t need to be read to if they're not speaking yet," Laura Repo of the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre told HS.

Finland recently began offering 20 hours of free daycare to every five-year-old in an effort to get more kids into early childhood education, as the government sees daycare as leveling socio-economic difference between families’ before children begin their formal education by the age of seven. The move has prompted some municipalities to lower the home care allowance for families caring for children at home.

Gender and pay

Education Minister and Left Alliance chair Li Andersson has come out in favour of social and healthcare unions’ demands to raise salaries in fields dominated by women, such as healthcare and early childhood education.

Two unions representing workers in the social and health care sector, Super and Tehy, have called for the government to reserve budget allocations for wage programmes in female-dominated fields.

"While I can’t take a stand on exact euro amounts, I fully understand that female-dominated sectors need higher wage increases than other fields," she told business magazine Talouselämä. "It's unfair to compare the output of people working with children and the elderly with those in industrial production, where results are more easily quantifiable."

The annual net cost of the wage programme to municipalities will be around 80 million euros over 10 years.

Rain then sun

This weekend will see wet weather but by the middle of next week, most of the country will experience a brief return to summer with the mercury climbing to 20 degrees Celsius, possibly reaching Finland’s elusive 25-degree-Celsius mark, according to newsstand tabloid Iltalehti.

Weather service company Foreca said 20-degree weather should arrive by Tuesday, possibly even reaching Lapland in the far north.

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