Finnish education trade union, OAJ, has recently published a report entitled “Solutions for Europe”, in which it outlines its goals for future European policy and suggests twenty-five solutions to improve the current state of affairs. In light of the upcoming European parliamentary elections and the Finnish Presidency, due to commence in July 2019, OAJ has chosen the election theme #educationisthesolution (#koulutusratkaisee) to highlight the focus that should be placed on education to ensure a successful, democratic and equal Europe.

While Europe is presided over by the Finnish representation, OAJ hopes that education, free movement and collaboration between Member States in the sphere of education will all be promoted. In particular, they recommend that vocational and adult education be treated as an integral part of education and training policy and urge future parliamentarians and the Finnish Presidency to increase investment in research at European level to ensure that Europe remains competitive in this globalised society.

In addition, this reports stipulates that competence and the ability to innovate are the basis for Europe’s competitiveness and calls for more ambitious training targets. In particular, OAJ appeals to future European parliamentarians and the Finnish Presidency to raise lifelong learning targets at European level and to encourage Member States to boost continuous learning.

Recalling that teacher competence is the foundation for quality education and training, this reports lays down that EU countries must work together to enhance the attractiveness of the teaching profession and underlines the importance of academic freedom in higher education. It also highlights the Fins’ successful migrant integration policy as an example to be followed by other countries, if Europe is to achieve a gap-free European labour force by 2050.

As for the working environment, OAJ calls for more advanced regulations regarding working conditions and safety regulations in early childhood education, schools and other education institutions at EU level. Last but not least, OAJ calls upon future European parliamentarians and the Finnish Presidency to  encourage the  promotion of sustainable education as part of an Education and Training collaborative framework with a view to mitigating climate change and resolving pressing environmental issues.

To read the OAJ’s demands in more detail, you can access the full report here.