Greater differences noted between schools in the Helsinki metropolitan area than elsewhere in Finland
According to the PISA study, Finland still has a fairly non-selective comprehensive school system. A study conducted as part of the Academy of Finland Research Programme on the Health and Welfare of Children and Young People (SKIDI-KIDS) indicates that the PISA results are true for the majority of Finland’s municipalities, but not so in larger municipalities, with the exception of Vantaa. The differences between schools are the greatest in the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Kauniainen, and the next largest in five other large cities. Vantaa, however, corresponds more closely to the results for the rest of Finland than to those of other large cities.
“The great differences between the secondary schools, in terms of the educational level of the parents and the average school success of the students, are already particularly alarming in the Helsinki, Espoo and Kauniainen areas, and they deserve a great deal more attention than they have received up to date. In addition to the PISA results, we should take advantage of all the other information that is available when determining school policies in order to ensure that our decisions are not simply based on the data from one single study, albeit a valuable one,” stresses Adjunct Professor Matti Rimpelä, University of Tampere, who is leading the study.
Eighth and ninth grade students included in a school health survey conducted over the years 2002–2010 served as the research material for the project “Educational outcomes and health of children in the segregating Helsinki Metropolitan Area (MetrOP)”. For the purposes of the study, the Helsinki Metropolitan area included the following 14 municipalities: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen, Järvenpää, Kerava, Kirkkonummi, Nurmijärvi, Sipoo, Tuusula, Vihti, Hyvinkää, Mäntsälä and Pornainen.
The basis for the study is the assumption that regional socio-spatial development is reflected in the wellbeing of children and young people. For this reason, the relationships between regional development and the competence, wellbeing and health of the children within that region are being researched within this multidisciplinary study. The combined examination of these themes provides internationally unique scientific information, which will also contribute to more effective planning related to comprehensive schools and measures to support students.
The study combines earlier research on socio-spatial segregation, learning and wellbeing. The aim is to formulate research designs and a database that, via updates, will allow for the monitoring of MetrOP developments in the future.
The study is being conducted by researchers from a variety of disciplines and research institutes, including the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere, the Finnish National Board of Education and the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
Adjunct Professor Matti Rimpelä, Tampere School of Public Health, University of Tampere, tel. +358 50 5693439, matti.rimpela(at)uta.fi, and Professor Jarkko Hautamäki, tel. +358 9 191 44121, +358 50 364 7220, Jarkko.Hautamaki(at)helsinki.fi
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