The General Assembly of the Finnish Student Sports Federation: Higher education students and sports services are the losers of the coronavirus pandemic

According to the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL), the higher education students have slipped through the net during the coronavirus pandemic. Higher education sports, the Higher Education on the Move programme and other structures that support the well-being of students must be strengthened in case of future crises, OLL stated during its General Assembly, which was held in Kuortane on 10–11 November.

“As the pandemic and restrictions drag on, the disappointed and exhausted higher education students demand that their situation is acknowledged with the same seriousness as that of other students. The public debate mostly expressed worry about in-person teaching and student well-being on secondary level, while higher education students were labelled as boozy party animals who endanger Covid safety,” OLL’s President Julia Tuuri remarks.

“What invisible line is crossed when students move from secondary education into higher education institutions? The ‘keep going’ from the ministers wasn't much consolation for the students at universities and universities of applied sciences who try to cope with distance learning on their own,” Tuuri continues.

Higher education sports must be strengthened

Higher education sports services also lost out during the coronavirus pandemic, even though they account for the majority of the daily exercise of young adults and support both physical and mental well-being. The organisers of higher education sports have not, however, been able to apply for the same kind of public support as other service providers in the sports sector, and they were completely ignored in the Covid-19 inquiry carried out by the National Sports Council.

According to OLL’s own inquires, the pandemic has had a significant effect on the work of all higher education sports services since the spring of 2020. This has not improved the situation we had before the pandemic, when the majority of students sat for more than ten hours a day and did not engage in sufficient exercise for their health.

“Higher education sports services must be offered the same opportunities as other types of sports services. The funding for the Higher education on the Move programme should also be guaranteed in the long term, in the same way as other On the Move programmes,” demands Essi Lumme, OLL’s new President for 2022.

“Higher education sports and increasing physical activity in the daily lives of students are not just expenses, but also investments into community spirit and the well-being of the future workforce,” Lumme states.

More information

Julia Tuuri, President
044 780 0211

Essi Lumme, President 2022
044 780 0216

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