The day of free education is held on Thursday 20th of October, 2022. Free education is the cornerstone of the Finnish welfare state, which cannot be compromised.
Parliamentary elections are approaching, and with that, various parties have started marketing their own parliamentary campaigns. Sivistystyöntanjat Sivista ry opened the discussion by proposing that higher education institutions should have a right to charge tuition fees for students going on their second higher education degree.
Bad proposal, no ticket to Hollywood!
Free education ensures that all capable and motivated people are educated as high and as much as they can afford. Free education also ensures that students are equal members of the university community – students are not just consumers, but an active part of a democratic and equal university community.
Tuition fees for a second degree threaten to hit those who have not managed to get a job with their first degree or whose career goals have only become clear after graduation. In modern times, a degree is no longer a guarantee of employment, so changing degrees to become more fee-based also weakens the chance of the unemployed to retrain into a field where the chance of employment would be better.
Only 11% of graduates have a second degree. The backlog of education has already been tackled by renewing student choices and allocating some of the starting places to first-time students. And if the second degree is for a fee, is it even worth graduating from your first degree?
LYY is also concerned that the introduction of tuition fees would make the entire system pay per term, since a price must be determined for each degree. We don’t want to take steps towards a paid education system. Education should be seen as something that benefits society as a whole, not just the individual.
When the education level of the population is to be raised, increasing starting places and fully financing them is a far better solution than implementing tuition fees. We hope that, during the parliamentary elections, both decision-makers and universities will uncompromisingly defend free education together with students.