What is the aim of the change?
Seamless union of learning and work
In Finland, everyone will do their share for the benefit of society. This will form the basis of the new social contract: citizens, society and employers are equally responsible. Work is valuable and important. Creating more work is the only way of forging growth in Finland and maintaining well-being. The employment rate must be raised. We must find ways of utilising the entire nation’s resources. However, the concept of work must be understood in a broad sense, to include all activities undertaken for the common good.
The current educational, labour market and social security systems must be reformed boldly – at present they are too unwieldy, inflexible and disincentivising. They do not provide enough guidance to bring people into diverse, active engagement. A new seamless learning, work and entrepreneurship entity must be created to replace the former systems, in every case making activity of all kinds more profitable than passivity. People must have the chance to alternate in a new way between paid work, entrepreneurship, training and voluntary work. Simpler benefit systems will save money and free up the resources of various authorities and social and healthcare sector professionals for concrete work. The labour market system must change from a caretaker into a developer of new kinds of contracts and employment. Assigning work must be made so easy that even short-term positions are worth offering.
The new social contract must re-determine the terms of work and social security. A decision must be made on which social services will be organised on the basis of taxpayers’ money, which via NGOs and which will be the responsibility of individuals themselves. Finland cannot finance identical services for everyone – an attempt must be made to secure the right services for everyone in need of them. Mutual trust between citizens must also be built on a new basis.
Learning and work must be integrated
From childhood to old age, the whole of life consists of learning and activity. People of all ages can do some kind of work, even in small portions. For instance, pensioners, those partially able to work, and those on parental, child-care or care leave, could participate in working life more than they do today. Work also brings meaningfulness and wellbeing to life.
Working life and education must be made to work closely together. More training for working life and entrepreneurship is needed in schools. Teachers could make visits to various workplaces and visiting instructors from working life could visit schools. Vocational skills could also be learned based on the master and apprentice model. Employment offices could become ‘marketplaces for work’ that reconcile the worker with the need for labour.
Ability to learn, information management and self-expression
While Finland’s education system is good, the labour market is undergoing a global revolution and information volumes on the web are growing exponentially. At school, people must be taught how to acquire information, evaluate its significance and utilise it.
Working life needs people who are able to continuously learn new things. Ability to learn boosts self-confidence and readiness for change. Mental ability to adapt is also required during various crisis situations. Schools must pay attention to the fact that people are different and should help everyone to discover individual ways of learning. Everyone’s competencies are needed and everyone will be included.
Many combinations of web-based and classroom teaching
Online learning and communal, interactive classroom teaching must be combined in comprehensive school. Acclaimed in the international Pisa reviews, Finland could become the leading nation in providing high-quality early childhood education and a sound comprehensive schooling, while productising online teaching and teaching concepts into export products.
In the global distribution of work, Finland must specialise in top expertise and tasks of high added value. Science and practice must be better integrated in higher education. Financing must be secured for high-quality basic research and product development. Globally networked workers with a doctoral degree will play a key role, since international research data is absorbed through such people. Finland must introduce its unique data banks and registers to research use more intensely than at present.