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Proficiency in Finland’s languages strengthened in national collaboration

Aalto University is promoting the learning of the national languages of Finland – Finnish and Swedish – as part of a broader programme for internationalisation and its Talent Boost programme.
Kaksi opiskelijaa juttelee keskenään. Kuva: Unto Rautio / Aalto-yliopisto

Several universities and higher education institutions are working together in Talent Boost to create action programmes to serve the entire field of higher education. A goal is to build on the strengths of international students’ contacts to Finnish working life and thereby enhance their employment possibilities in Finland.
The national languages project seeks to develop language training in Finnish and Swedish in order to meet more effectively the need to recruit international talent to Finland as well as the proficiency needs of internationals already in Finland.

The development project follows three guiding principles:

  1. Continuous learning and assessment
  2. Language learning as an integral part of human social activity
  3. Teachers are a support for learning; learners are active agents. 

Aalto University and the University of Helsinki are coordinating the project in a national network that involves both sectors of higher education (universities and universities of applied science).
Jepa Piirainen and Pasi Puranen of Aalto University Language Centre are in charge of the project for Aalto. Piirainen and Puranen together represent a vast spectrum of knowledge and experience in developing language and communication education at the national level, as well as in promoting digital education and language teaching.

‘It’s great to be included in building up a new collaborative network for teaching Finnish and Swedish with digital pedagogy. I feel it’s highly important to make the selection of teaching and learning as widely available as possible. This is how we can help international students and staff in higher education as well as their families to become more socially and linguistically integrated in working life’, says Puranen.

‘The project is great chance to get in at the ground level in creating tools and models to support the language learner as an active agent – one who learns language both independently and as a member of a work community. Workplace communities need concrete ways to help language learners become socialised linguistically, and the project also addresses this need,” adds Piirainen.

Int’l student prospects for a smooth job landing in Finnish working life

A study curriculum that is scalable, digital and can be used nationally on a common platform is one of the fruits of the development work, which has also produced paths and models for language learning, digital pedagogical models to support teaching and supervision, and a foundation for a collaborative network. 
‘Aalto University wants to carry responsibility for ensuring that Finland attracts international students with opportunities to make a smooth transition into Finnish work life. National language proficiency is one important means towards achieving this broader goal’, explains Vice President for Education Petri Suomala.

Further information:

Pasi Puranen (primary contact at Aalto), [email protected], tel. +358 40 3538 211
Jepa Piirainen, [email protected]
Petri Suomala, [email protected]

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