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Aviisi 15/2007
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News in English

University study places to be cut down by thousands

The Ministry of Education is planning a remarkable reduction in university study places. Whereas about 21,000 new students start at Finnish universities today, the aim is to reduce the number to 19,000 by 2012 and to 17,500 by the beginning of the 2020s.

The weightiest reason behind the reduction is that Finnish age groups are getting smaller. This means that not so many study places will be needed in the future.

Furthermore, as the larger age groups retire, there will be a shortage of non-academic labour and more students will be needed in the vocational sector.

Another reason for the reduction is the Ministry of EducationÂ’s requirements to rationalise education.

‘In the future, we will strive to encourage more and more students to finish their degrees. This way, a smaller number of students will be sufficient to bear a result similar to presentÂ’, says Heikki Mäenpää, consulting official of the Ministry of Education.

Mäenpää has been preparing the Ministry of EducationÂ’s development plan between 2007 and 2012. The objective of the plan is to define new guidelines for Finnish education and research.

The University Senate of UTA has criticised the draft of the plan in a statement it gave. Apparently, the draft does not define clearly enough, which Finnish provinces and universities the reduction would concern.

According to the draft, the amount of study places in Humanities and Education would be cut down by 600 in as early as five years time. In Social Sciences, Business Economics, Administration and Natural Sciences the reduction would concern 400 study places. In Tampere, the changes could also be noticeable in at least all of these fields.

Facilities for Tamy crèche confirmed

The university will provide facilities for student childcare free of charge.

‘The university has given the upper floor of the Attila building for this purpose’, says Niina Kiviaho, Tamy Secretary for Social Welfare Affairs.

Tamy has sought funding for the project from FinlandÂ’s Slot Machine Association (RAY), but it has yet not made its decision. Next year funding will be applied from the City of Tampere.

‘Now the realisation of the crèche depends on what kind of stand the Representatives take on the issue and what sort of funding we will receive. A crèche is an expensive project for Tamy to organise all by itself’, says Kiviaho.

Tamy has negotiated a student discount from Puolen hehtaarin metsä, a private crèche located near the campus area. StudentsÂ’ children can now be looked after for 4.5 euros an hour - 1.5 euros cheaper than the usual rate.

Busy advance voting for Council Election

1,589 students from the 12,800 entitled to vote have voted at the Tamy Council Election in advance. The number covers 12.4% of all the Tamy members. During the previous election in 2005, only a small percentage of voters used the opportunity to vote in advance.

Tamy thinks that active voting is due to the electronic voting system, which was in use for the first time.

The primary voting days are the 6th and 7th of November.

The aim of the election is to vote a new Council of 40 people for the next two years. The Council is the highest decision-making body in Tamy.

TehyÂ’s job action not affecting work at YTHS

The mass resignations of nurses, planned to begin on the 20th of November, will not affect normal operation at YTHS, the Finnish Student Health Service. YTHS has not joined Tehy (the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals) in its job action, for unlike Tehy, YTHS is not employed by the Commission for Local Authority Employers, against which the action is mainly aimed.

Tamy van out of use for the next few weeks

It will only be possible to rent TamyÂ’s van from approximately the 20th of November onwards. Due to damage caused by a collision, the car has been under repair.

The motor and the nose of the van, among other parts, were damaged when the van collided with another car in Hakametsä, Tampere.

Students will be able to contact the General Office for enquiries as to when exactly the van will again be available to rent.

Professors surprisingly green

University teachersÂ’ political views are remarkably different to those of the rest of the population. Their favourite party appears to be the Green League, with the support of 37 percent. 28% of the teachers support the Coalition, 11% the Social Democrats, 10% the Centre party and eight percent are for the Left Alliance.

Less than a third of the teachers believe in the Christian God, whereas seven percent believe in another higher being. 81.3% of the respondents had a fairly firm belief in the theory of evolution.

The results came up in Jorma HietamäkiÂ’s doctoral thesis research, which he is preparing for the UTA Department of Psychology. 83 of the respondents were professors, the rest among others assistants, adjunct professors, lecturers and researchers. The recent issue of the scientific journal Tieteessä tapahtuu reported on the research.

Development co-operation costs Tamy 2000 euros a year

TamyÂ’s development co-operation plan was criticised in the election enquiry of the last Aviisi issue. TOK (centrist students) want to combine the development co-operation and international activity due to some operational overlaps.

‘The main focus should be on humanitarian aids being paid in the form of voluntary development fees’, says Medisiinarit, the electoral coalition of Medicine students.

At present, annual humanitarian aids of 2,500 euros do not belong to the development section but are paid from mandatory membership fees. Kokoomusopiskelijat (coalition students) even demand that Tamy should give up development co-operation completely.

Tamy spends little more than 2,000 euros a year for development co-operation by hiring project secretaries. Each secretarial post costs around 1,300 euros and there are five in the space of three years.

‘Tamy’s costs for this are quite marginal. The development co-operation section is the only one in Tamy actually receiving external funding. Students vote with their own money for the co-operation by paying voluntary support. A huge amount of work is also done by voluntary students - up to as much as I am doing’, says Katri Suhonen, Secretary for International Affairs.

In addition to studentsÂ’ voluntary fees, the development co-operation section receives external funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 800 students paid the voluntary support this autumn. The assets go to the Indian organisation Gravis, which works to support poor rural societies.

Tamy Development Co-operation Week takes place on 12th - 17th November 2007. www.tamy.fi/kehy

Translations: Varpu Jutila

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