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Who’s in favor of tuition fees? Who’s not? Read what the groups competing for seats in the Student Union Council have to say

(Article): Nelli Lapintie & Nella Keski-Oja
(Photos): Nelli Lapintie
  • Voters were able to meet some of the candidates at TYY Council Election Market last Thursday.

Are you a member of the Student Union (TYY)? You have the right to vote in TYY’s council elections.

Which international services should be improved by TYY? What do the coalitions aspiring to win seats at the Student Union Council think about tuition fees for students outside the EU and EEA countries?

Turku Student Magazine (Turun ylioppilaslehti) asked the competing groups for their opinions on international issues. One coalition, Hybridiaani, was unable to answer the questions on the schedule that was offered.

“We need to make sure that everybody knows what the Student Union has to offer”

When asked about which internationals services provided by TYY should be improved, the three main points highlighted in the answers were: more information in English, improved ties to the local student life and more employment-opportunities for international students.

“Student Union has problems reaching international students. This could be remedied with improved communications and more diverse services and events”, Green Left comments.

Oikeat states that important information should always be translated into English:

“We need to make sure that everybody knows what the Student Union has to offer.”

Humanistilista adds that TYY’s sub-organizations should be encouraged to produce information in English as well.

“[The Student Union should provide] more communication in English and events where international students can meet Finnish students”, Group Lex suggests.

Green list and Tasapaino state that TYY should help foreign and Finnish students to connect by making it easy to take part in local student life, while Demokraatit suggests that the Student Union should not only organize, but advertise more events where exchange students can meet other students.

Soihdunkantajat points out that rather than to be treated as a separate group, international students should be encouraged to engage in all Student Union activities just like every other student.

Some of the coalitions also remind that TYY can have an important role in the future employment of the students.

 “International students want help getting job opportunities. Therefore the Student Union should improve services for their employment”, TSE-list states.

“The Student Union should focus on improving the support for international student’s transition to working life in Finland”, Eduxi writes.

TYY Terveeksi suggests making improvements by offering tutor training, mentoring program, emergency housing and English content in the Student Magazine.

One coalition, Turun akateemiset perussuomalaiset, chose not to comment.

Tuition fees: Yay or nay?

Out of all the coalitions only Oikeat and Turun akateemiset perussuomalaiset think that in Finland tuition fees should be charged from all students outside EU and EEA countries.

“There is a big market in the education field and Finland is taking important steps to conquer it”, Oikeat writes.

The other coalitions think that tuition fees should not be charged in Finland.

“Free education for Finns and foreigners is beneficial for both the individuals and the country. Current tuition fees for students from outside EU/EEA countries should be abolished”, Green list comments.

“Free education is a cornerstone of Finnish educational system. Any leeway given to further ourselves from this goal is a giant step backwards for equality of people”, Green Left states.

Group Lex states that tuition fees of international students are already being used as an argument for charging tuition fees from Finnish students as well:

“Studying should be free of charge for everyone.”

Demokraatit points out that tuition fees don’t lure students to stay in Finland.

“International students should be encouraged to stay in Finland after the studies, and given proper guidance on how to accomplish that”, Tasapaino adds.

One coalition, TSE-list, does not have a stand in the issue of tuition fees.

Student Union Elections … say what?

This autumn a total of 360 candidates from 13 electoral coalitions are running to become Student Union councilors. Voting is done online with utu username during 1.–8. November.

The council is the highest decision-making authority in the Student Union.  It decides on what TYY does during the two years in office.

Here’s a list of all the coalitions and the number of their candidates:

Green list (27 candidates), Green Left (25 candidates), Demokraatit (12 candidates), Humanistilista (12 candidates), Hybridiaani (33 candidates), Eduxi (10 candidates), Group Lex (63 candidates), TSE-list (61 candidates), TYY Terveeksi (32 candidates), Turun akateemiset perussuomalaiset (2 candidates), Oikeat (32 candidates), Tasapaino (8 candidates), and Soihdunkantajat (42 candidates). 

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