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Higher education is undergoing a revolution. Whereas the question at the heart of the university previously was what do you know, the core question in the future is what are your competencies. The curricula of the new degree programmes starting at the University of Helsinki in the 2017 autumn term must include learning outcomes: the content that students master either by completing the course or by having learned the content otherwise. In the future, students will ideally understand what kinds of knowledge and skills they master and how this know-how can help them in research or in working life outside the University.

Competencies are, of course, a built-in component of the pursuit of science: praxis – how and for what purpose theories are used – always goes alongside theory. Competence-based education does not change this principle – it emphasises understanding of competencies in connection to the learning process. Studying becomes more relevant than before, with thematic units being studied for their future use, not only for credits. Understanding of one’s own skills also positively affects self-efficacy beliefs.

Know what you can do

Self-efficacy beliefs (in Finnish) define what students believe they can survive. How many weeks of preparation do you need for an exam worth three credits? How easily can you get a job after graduation? The more realistic the image students have of their own skills, the better. Thus far, there has been the risk of students graduating from the university thinking they have not learned anything of use. Statistically, at least, this is not the case. Graduates of the University of Helsinki continue to get jobs that correspond to their level of education and get placed in positions at the very top of the scientific world.

General education increases competencies

Achieving the learning outcomes obviously requires good basic knowledge in the future too. Doctors can only tend to their patients if they understand the anatomy of the human body, biochemistry and physiology. Political scientists must know the culture, history and power structures of the surrounding society. A foundation of research and theory is a central part of the core idea of the Humboldtian university (in Finnish). Emphasising competencies does not conflict with the ideal of the Humboldtian university. Accumulating general knowledge is also a skill – the ability to conceive phenomena and to act in a complex world.

Learning outcomes should not remain on the pages of the curricula – they should actually be visible in studying every day. Teaching can be developed to suit students’ needs through learning outcomes, as the same outcomes can be reached with several different teaching methods. At the same time, unnecessary work decreases, when skills acquired outside formal education are learned to be recognised better and included in degrees. Achieving all of this does, of course, require pedagogical skills from the teachers.

Heikki Isotalo
Specialist, educational policy
Heikki is able to write a blog text in a single afternoon.

You can apply for social assistance from KELA if you’re covered by the Finnish social security system and have not managed to find work or relevant studies for the summer.

You will need to describe your situation in a way that makes sense to the benefits officer who may not be familiar with the particular issues you are facing.

Even after that you can resort to the social services of your municipality to help you out.
If you live in Helsinki: https://www.hel.fi/helsinki/en/socia-health/income/income-support/
In Espoo:
http://www.espoo.fi/en-US/Social_and_health_services/Social_Welfare_and_...
In Vantaa:
http://www.vantaa.fi/health_care_and_social_services/social_support_and_...

Also Ohjaamo Helsinki in Kamppi (Fredrikinkatu 48) helps 15–29-year-olds to find solutions in tricky circumstances.
http://ohjaamo.hel.fi/

More information:
Katja Långvik
Specialist (social policy)
+358 50 543 9608
katja.langvik@hyy.fi

Emma studies psychology at the University of Helsinki and she was the chair of her subject organisation Kompleksi last year. Emma organised the organisation’s anniversary ball for 350 people in February and works now with Kompleksi alumni in the organisation. HYY’s Anniversary Master puts together the volunteer team for the anniversary academic dinner party and the after-party birthday bash and manages all the practical arrangements.

“It’s a passion of mine to throw anniversary parties, and it can’t get any better than this! To work with HYY outside my own faculty is a new experience for me, and I want the anniversary party to be one for each and every student! In November we’ll celebrate not only student union traditions but come up with something new and surprising – something beautiful, something ravishing and a whole deal of unforgettable experiences! Join the volunteer team!”

HYY’s 149th Anniversary Party and the after-party birthday bash will be 23 November. The official anniversary day is 26 November.

Tickets for both the academic dinner party and the after-party will be on sale later in the autumn.

More information:
Elina Nieminen, HYY Board Member (events and volunteers)
elina.nieminen@hyy.fi

The housing supplement of the student financial aid is abolished on 1 August 2017 when students move to general housing allowance.

What should students do now?

Check your rental agreement: is it personal or does it have joint responsibility?
General housing allowance is granted to the household collectively: the incomes of all members of the household affect the amount of housing allowance granted. People living in the same apartment with separate rental agreements are also considered to constitute a household if their rental agreements have a clause on joint responsibility. If you live in the same apartment with one or more people without being a part of the same household, contact your landlord in time. The formulation of rental agreements can be changed so that the tenants would not be jointly responsible for the rent. In student housing foundations, this should be taken care of before Midsummer as new apartment seekers and their service needs will take precedence after that.

Estimate your income and use Kela’s calculators.
From which date onwards should you apply for general housing allowance?
The amount of general housing allowance is determined by either your regular income or your estimated income during the next 12 months. If, for instance, you are still in a well-paid summer job in August, you should apply for general housing allowance starting from the beginning of September. In case of large changes in income – increases of over 400 euros or decreases of over 200 euros compared to the estimated income in the previous decision – you must inform Kela yourself.

If you are going on student exchange abroad in the autumn, continue to apply for the housing supplement of the student financial aid.
General housing allowance is not granted to people living abroad.

Submit your application for housing allowance to Kela already during the summer!
Otherwise your application could get stuck in the autumn rush and payment of the allowance be late.


More information: http://www.kela.fi/web/en/changes-to-student-financial-aid

Would you like to influence the study environment at your faculty? Are you interested in student life related health issues? Are you willing to support health promotion?

One of the central tasks of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) is health promotion. Locally this health promotion work is organized through working groups, which include both representatives of the staff of the FSHS, students, university staff and other stakeholders. The health promotion of the students of the University of Helsinki is organized by two working groups, one for the faculties of the City Centre Campus and one for the faculties operating at Kumpula, Meilahti and Viikki Campuses.

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) is now looking for all in all 11 student representatives from all faculties for the term September 1 2017 until August 31 2019. The working groups currently work in Finnish, so a basic command of the Finnish language is advisable. Please see the Finnish or Swedish version of the ad for more information on the working groups and on how to apply. The deadline for applications is Sunday May 21 at 11.59 pm.

Further information: Sofia Lindqvist, Specialist at HYY, sofia.lindqvist@hyy.fi, 050 543 9605.


According to the latest career follow-up survey of the University of Helsinki, 84% of students who graduated five years ago are now in jobs that either correspond to their level of education or are more demanding. Over half of the graduates constantly use the skills and knowledge that they learned at the University in their work. One third of the respondents have been unemployed at some point after their graduation.

The results of the career placement report of the University of Helsinki have been published in connection with the nationwide career follow-up survey. Even though discussion focuses on the changing working life and the low employment rate, the survey reveals that higher education still offers a good foundation for working life and helps in finding work when compared to the entire population. However, the relative benefit of higher education has decreased.

Based on the survey, the University of Helsinki offers good skills in theoretical and analytical thinking, information retrieval and acquisition, taking initiative and Finnish-language communication. Many specialist positions will continue to require the same skills in the future – despite the changes in working life.

There are flaws too. According to the respondents, University studies do not sufficiently develop stress tolerance or skills in cooperation, organisation, negotiation, networking and project management. In a world full of temporary work and hidden jobs, these skills would be in great demand.

Solutions suggested by the Student Union could include courses on study ability, which would develop students’ skills in time and stress management as well as offer means to manage themselves. Such courses would both help students progress in their studies and create working life competences. However, it is more important to plan all studies in a competence-based manner: students must be able to identify the concrete learning outcomes of all studies. This would allow them to perceive the connections that courses and study units have with working life with more clarity than at present.

During may you can check your preliminary annual income that affects student financial aid and pay back overpaid aid. Use the KELA calculators to make sure that your annual income does not exceed a specified limit. Your annual income limit is determined on the basis of the number of months for which you have drawn financial aid during a calendar year. You can avoid paying back with an interest rate of 7,5 % by volutarily returning some of the financial aid paid to you.

Do not throw away your wage slips from 2016 in case you started or finished your studies that year. KELA receives information on your total yearly income and you may need to prove the period when you have earned your income.

If you pay back or cancel study allowances for 2017 in adwance: please note that it’s profitable to cancel them for the autumn, when allowances for studies and living will be separated. Then you need only to pay back the monthly study grant, not your housing assistance.

For more information, visit KELA webpages