Close

Autumn greetings from the educational policy sector!

16.12.2021

Autumn greetings from the educational policy sector!

NEWS

Have you ever wondered what HYY does to advocate students’ interests in practice? In this text, one of HYY’s two advocacy work sectors, the educational policy sector, will provide you with a report on all our work during the autumn!

Sisu

The University of Helsinki adopted the Sisu academic administration system last spring. From a student perspective, the move to Sisu was not without its problems, and the system continues to have flaws related to accessibility, for instance. We at the educational policy sector have been doing our part trying to fix these issues and improve the system’s usability by, for instance, regularly meeting with the University’s Sisu team and cooperating with the University on communication. In September, HYY issued a joint statement with the student unions of Aalto University, the University of Jyväskylä, the LUT University and Tampere University demanding that the accessibility issues of Sisu are resolved.

Developing university democracy

One of our key projects this autumn has been to promote a move to the tripartite principle with equal representation in the University Collegium. The collegium is a central decision-making and discussion body at the University, with its 50 members representing the entire University community. Its members include students, professors, other teaching and research personnel and other personnel. However, the different groups do not have an equal number of representatives in the collegium – instead, the professors have the greatest number of members. Together with the student members of the University Board and the student representatives of the University Collegium, we have been promoting the realisation of the tripartite principle with equal representation in the collegium to ensure that the different groups have equal representation in decision-making processes. To this end, we have been lobbying the University Board and the representatives of personnel groups, bringing up the issue in the collegium, coordinating cooperation between student representatives and publishing a statement on the matter.

Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has continued to impact our study advocacy work this autumn. We have been in constant contact with the University to influence its coronavirus policies. The most important channels for us to influence matters have been our regular meetings with Director of Development Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta and the Teachers’ Academy. In these meetings, we have commented on and discussed the University’s principles related to teaching during the coronavirus era. With the Teachers’ Academy in particular, we have been working to promote an understanding of student-friendly development of remote, contact and hybrid teaching at the University. Our actions related to the development of teaching during the coronavirus era were based on the survey on studies that we commissioned to chart our members’ experiences and ideas for improvement in relation to teaching during the coronavirus era. The survey recognised student diversity and the fact that there were contrary views on teaching arrangements. Based on the survey, we established flexible completion methods, lecture recordings and the timely opening of campus services as our main advocacy themes.

Other activities

In September, we wrote an opinion piece for Helsingin Sanomat together with the University of Helsinki’s Director of Development Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta, demanding that the cuts on science are cancelled and investments are made in teaching and science. We have also been involved in a working group at the University that focuses on issues such as student wellbeing and the development of teaching facilities. During the year, we have also taken part in the audit of the University’s quality system.

We drafted and prepared educational policies for HYY’s brand-new Policy Paper and influenced the preparatory work for the policy paper and next year’s action plan of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL). We also supported the educational policy group of HYY’s SYL delegation in its preparations for SYL’s General Assembly.

We have also provided our members in individual faculties with direct support on study affairs. We would especially like to thank the student organisations of the faculties of arts, medicine and educational sciences for their cooperation! We have also supported the student representatives of degree programmes with curriculum work and been involved in setting the University’s general goals related to curriculum work.

In the autumn, we appointed dozens of new student representatives to many administrative bodies at the University, including faculty councils and the University Collegium. The application process was successful despite the protracted pandemic situation. During the autumn, we have also renewed HYY’s guide on legal protection.

Winds of change are blowing in the educational policy sector at the turn of the year, too, as members of next year’s Board begin their work and one of our two specialists in educational policy, Topias Tolonen, moves on to pastures new. Mathilda Timmer has started work as Topias’s successor on 7 December.

Check out our spring greetings, too!

 

Wishing you all happy holidays,

Tuukka ja Aleksi
Members of the Board in charge of educational policy

Marianna, Topias ja Mathilda
Specialists in educational policy

    Read more