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Finland funds education for Ukrainians

Image: UNDP Ukraine [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Funding pot worth €5.5 million will support Ukrainian reconstruction and reduce skill shortages in Finland

The Finnish ministry of education and culture has created a fund worth €5.5 million to support higher education institutions in their efforts to offer places to Ukrainian refugees.

The funding is part of the Finnish government’s action plan to support Ukrainian higher education students and researchers, which aims to provide between 2,000 and 4,000 students with study opportunities.

The funds will be distributed between 21 projects that will provide education in English and help Ukrainians with preparatory courses so they can enter Finnish universities and institutions of applied sciences. The students can choose individual study paths, the ministry said, so they can either continue a degree programme they started at home or complete modules that can be used as accreditation for a degree in both Finland and Ukraine.

“It is our responsibility to help those in distress, and education also plays a role in this work,” said Petri Honkonen, Finland’s minister of science and culture. “Finland wants to support the reconstruction of Ukraine by means of professional skills.”

However, the minister also pointed out that the programme would enable the government to increase the number of international higher education students in the country. Finland suffers a severe skills shortage and has struggled to educate enough professionals in fields such as business and engineering.

The 21 projects funded under the programme are chosen based on the educational needs of Ukrainian students and the needs of different regions and industrial sectors in Finland, the ministry said. For example, the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences will offer preparatory education for immigrant journalists, and the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences will offer new competence and guidance in the software sector and digital skills.