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Survey: Most high schools ask pupils to buy laptops

Finnish students at Upper Secondary School increasingly have to buy their own laptop computers. That’s the finding of an Yle survey, which found that only 15 percent of Finnish high schools buy pupils their own laptops.

Nuori mies käyttää tablettitietokonetta.
Yle's survey found that Finnish schoolkids need laptops, but most schools don't provide them. Image: Mikko Kuusisalo / Yle

An Yle survey has found that the majority of Finnish upper secondary schools either demand or recommend that their pupils have their own laptops computers. That’s what Yle found in a survey of Finland’s Upper Secondary Schools.

Of the country’s 415 high schools 295 answered the survey. Some 41 percent of the schools recommend pupils have their own computer, while nearly 30 percent say access to an individual laptop is necessary for study. The remainder said that a laptop is not a requirement for study.

Many of the headteachers contacted for the survey said that they were waiting for national guidance on the use of laptops in schools.  The computers are used to access electronic teaching materials and can in some cases even be used for matriculation exams.

“If you think of students and families’ positions in society, it doesn’t sound very fair that in some high schools they receive their own laptop and in others you’re forced to buy one,” said Mari Aalto, head of Porin suomalainen yhteislyseo.

Schools have been forced to get creative as they help students deal with the technological demands of new educational aids. While 42 pay for the laptops students need, a further 42 have agreed deals where students get a steep discount thanks to bulk purchasing.

In Kokemäki the local high school offers a deal whereby pupils pay 50 euros for the right to use a laptop. If they pay a further 50 euros they get to keep the machine.

In most schools—more than 70 percent of those that responded to the survey—pupils or their parents have to foot the bill. Schools justified this by pointing to the Finnish practice of parent-funded study materials at Upper Secondary level, with the total cost of books for ‘lukio’ often running to more than a thousand euros.

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