Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The View from Here - Finland - the Horror of 'Tuition Fees by the Back Door': News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The View from Here - Finland - the Horror of 'Tuition Fees by the Back Door': News

Article excerpt

Finland is famously egalitarian. It has almost no fee-charging schools and there are no university tuition fees. However, the ruthlessly competitive university entrance exams - which result in the rejection of about 75 per cent of university applicants - have spawned something traditionally alien to the Arctic country: private tuition companies. And they have caused such horror that a radical overhaul of the entrance exams has been drawn up.

"We can't say they (the private tuition companies) can't operate. They are very popular and we are not very happy about it," says Anita Lehikoinen, the civil servant in charge of higher education policy. "We are trying to modify the university entrance exams so that these companies would not be able to help with what is tested." The proposed exam would test "motivation" and "general ability" and would force universities to give greater consideration to school leaving exam results.

This "major reform" is planned for 2014, but already the Ministry of Education has written to universities to tell them that "it's not a good idea" for their employees to work for these companies. "It's about equity of applicants," says Mrs Lehikoinen. "Not everybody can afford these companies." She adds that they are "to some extent tuition fees by the back door".

Tero Laiho is one of the managers of Valmennuskeskus, a Helsinki-based tuition centre. "We have about 5,000 students a year and about 60 per cent of them get into university," he says. "The most expensive course is 5,000 euros and most of the students are still at school. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.