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Paper: 5,000 higher learning jobs cut by government

According to a report by regional newspaper Keskisuomalainen the previous three governments, headed by Jyrki Katainen, Alexander Stubb and Juha Sipilä, have cut education funding by the equivalent of about two universities and two polytechnics.

Vallattu-banneri roikkuu Helsingin yliopiston Porthania-rakennuksen edessä.
Occupied: The Porthania university building in Helsinki was taken over in protest to education cuts in 2015. Image: Yle

A total of some 5,200 jobs have disappeared or will shortly disappear from Finnish universities and polytechnics, the Keskisuomalainen paper reports. The figure is the result of a poll conducted by Keskisuomalainen and affiliate papers.

The paper says that some 280 million euros have been slashed from the country's education budget, with more than 60 rounds of employer-employee talks since 2012.

University funding had remained at a fairly steady level until 2015. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's governmental savings drive will not start to hit home for ordinary citizens and businesses until this year.

University-specific redundancies come to more than 3,700 jobs, which is more than the total staff of a university operating in two different regions.

Polytechnics have seen three years' worth of cuts, and 1,550 of their employees – or two full-scale polytechnics – have been let go.

In addition to people being fired, jobs have also effectively disappeared when retired employees have not had their posts refilled. Fixed term positions have also been ended.

University of Helsinki principal Jukka Kola says that the education cuts, both past and future, are effectively eating away at the university's operating ability.

And the biggest cuts have yet to be instated.

Some 1,550 jobs may vanish from the University of Helsinki and the Aalto University as a result of employer-employee negotiations. Such talks are also in play in the University of Eastern Finland, where a maximum of 200 face the boot.

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