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Friday's papers: Mildewy schools, Swedish wins and Nokia's demise

Air-conditioning switch-offs may be contributing to school mould, pupils are still keen on studying Swedish, and a study says emotions got in the way at Nokia.

Poika tekee kotiläksyjä lattialla.
Air-conditioning switch-offs may be contributing to school mildew. Image: Tanja Heino / Yle

Routine nighttime and weekend air-conditioning system switch-offs could potentially be exacerbating mould and damp problems in Helsinki and Vantaa schools, according to a report by Helsingin Sanomat. The nighttime switch-off means outgoing air is only sucked out of bathrooms, causing a vacuum in which no fresh air is brought back in.

Good grades ease direct entry to uni

Many of this year’s high school graduates have been guinea pigs in the new high school reform, suggests Helsingin Sanomat. When this spring’s graduates began their upper secondary studies many of them were unaware that their final grades would carry the importance they do now. This year two-thirds of applicants will be directly admitted into tertiary education based on their final grades, up from one-fifth previously. Some 27,000 high school seniors passed the matriculation exam this year, 59 percent of them women.

Pupils stick with Swedish

Interest in a ”language experiment” approved by lawmakers last year to make Swedish-language studies voluntary in Finnish schools has fizzled out, writes Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet. Education authorities in the predominantly Finnish-speaking municipalities of Rovaniemi and Savonlinna have dropped out of the trial, bringing the number of participating municipalities down to zero. The 'language experiment' granted sixth-graders in participating municipalities the option of replacing Swedish studies with another foreign language. The trial spearheaded by the populist Finns Party and breakaway Blue Reform party grew out of a failed citizens’ initiative to downgrade Swedish, which enjoys second national language status, to an elective subject in schools.

Emotional attachment and Nokia's downfall

Low trust between Nokia top managers and board undermined the quality of strategic discussions in the aftermath of iPhone and Android launches a decade ago, finds a fresh study in the Harvard Business Review, cited by business daily Kauppalehti. According to the study, managers were afraid to voice their concerns about the severity of threats, affecting their ability to develop an effective response to the competition. That said, Nokia’s top managers did not succeed in revising their strategy partly because they were attached to the prevailing Symbian-based strategy. The study suggests that managing people's emotions may help management teams increase their ability to think strategically in times of major disruption and stress. From 2007-2008 Nokia dominated the mobile and smartphone markets.

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