Cultural Diversity for Study Paths
The project is funded by European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland, Diak (coordinator), Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences.
Project context and need
The field of Finnish higher education is becoming more diverse. The diversity means among other things that yearly an increasing number of students with diverse background and culture start their higher education studies. Underrepresented student groups such as with Roma and immigrant backgrounds are easily left as groups of their own at the higher education institutions and they are not integrated fully as the members of the higher education community, the working life and the society because of for example their language proficiency or the cultural background. This phenomenon resonates as much with the Finnish students that easily stay in their own formed groups and communities. From the perspective of the underrepresented groups the challenges in the education and service system are for example the inadequacy of comprehensive counselling and guidance services, the lack of more targeted study options and the lack of application activities and support which makes it difficult to apply into the education. If the integration into the studies, the working life and the Finnish society were to take place already during the education, the more higher education graduates from the target groups could stay in the Eastern Finland to contribute to the region and build their own lives there.
The main objective of the project is to promote the educational equality of the underrepresented groups such as immigrants and Roma and others excluded from education. The project strengthens the educational and study opportunities. The project also develops targeted models of counselling and coaching for the studies. The project promotes the cooperation between the higher education institutions in development of the culture sensitive proficiency and counselling.
The project expects to improve the availability and opportunities for higher education for the educational paths of the underrepresented groups. The project expects
– to improve the counselling and support on the educational paths of the target group students
– to strengthen the culture sensitive and language-aware proficiency in higher education and related cooperation between the different institutions.
– to strengthen the target group attachment to the study and higher education community and to the regional working life
– to develop the support of the continuous learning, counselling and common operational models in the open university and open university of applied science.
– to strengthen the language and culture awareness as well as the proficiency and interaction based on equality and trust of the counselling and teaching staff, working life counsellors and other counselling and guidance professionals and student mentors.
– to rationalize the resources of the higher education institutions and to reduce overlapping
The threshold for applying into the higher education permanently lowers for underrepresented groups. The underrepresented groups decrease their dropping out of the studies. The number of Roma students in higher education institutions in the Eastern Finland increases and the employment of Roma improves in the region. Students with international and immigrant backgrounds find employment in the Eastern Finland region.