2019 parliamentary elections

Parliamentary election advocacy work is the student movement’s traditional show of strength. The decisions made by the Parliament have significant, far-reaching effects on the conditions and possibilities of student and higher education sports. For example, as part of the major reform of the Higher Education Acts in 2009, the Finnish Parliament required universities and universities of applied sciences to permanently offer their students appropriate and up-to-date sports services.

“The Parliament enacts all legislation in Finland and approves the Budget. It also elects the Prime Minister, oversees the Government, ratifies international treaties and influences European Union matters.” (www.eduskunta.fi)

In the 2019 parliamentary elections, OLL campaigned to achieve the following two goals:

Dismantling passivating structures: Extending the Students on the Move
programme genuinely to higher education institutions

  • The average student sits for more than 10 hours a day.
  • The higher education environment does not encourage students to be physically active. Everyday physical activity, and the lack thereof, will be a significant factor in the well-being and working capacity of future generations.
  • The generation of students who has grown up with the Schools on the Move programme expects similar possibilities for physical activity when they enter higher education.
    • With just €7 million a year, the Schools on the Move programme has increased the physical activity of more than 200,000 comprehensive school pupils and 76,000 upper secondary school students.
    • Several higher education institutions are already involved in the Schools on the Move programme without the needed resources. They have the will, but no money.
  • The operational logic should be the same as in the Schools on the Move programme: higher education institutions are given the resources and the platform for exchanging ideas, but the institutions will retain control of the actual activities. This will guarantee that each higher education institution’s needs and interests will serve as the starting point for the activities.

The Students on the Move programme enables a change in the operating culture with little money.

The Finnish Student Sports Federation demands: €7 million in funding for the Higher Education on the Move programme.

Preventive equality: FSHS is expanding, and sports services must also be
made available to all higher education institutions

  • Encouraging physical activity is an important part of preventive healthcare.
    • The services offered by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) will be extended to universities of applied sciences, but the sports services offered vary in quality, which places students in an unequal position.
  • Services in accordance with the national recommendations for higher education sports must be guaranteed everywhere in Finland.
    • An investment of €30 per student, as defined in the recommendations, would mean €8.2 million per year, or 0.3% of the funding that higher education institutions receive from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
    • Less than one quarter of higher education institutions invest enough in their sports services to be on par with the recommendations.
  • The Finnish Parliament’s statement in the last decade as part of the Universities Act and the Government's resolution on the promotion of physical exercise led to clear improvements in higher education sports.

It is time to find sustainable, permanent solutions that extend beyond the parliamentary terms in order to develop and maintain higher education sports services. Formalizing the status of higher education sports will lead to healthier students and future employees!

The Finnish Student Sports Federation demands: Incentives and resources for higher education institutions to develop their sports services.

Why is this important?

At least 67% of higher education students are exposed to numerous health risks due to insufficient physical activity: back pain, headache, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In the worst-case scenario, these risks may lead to the total loss of one’s future working ability.

Physical activity has a positive effect on learning. It has been found to improve the connections between brain cells and structures, which have an impact on one's alertness, concentration and information-processing and memory functions.

During the last few years, investments have been made to start sports services at universities of applied sciences, and the physical activity of students in universities of applied sciences has reached the level of university students in the last four years. This cannot be a coincidence.

Starting sports services always requires the most resources, but these activities will eventually pay for themselves. Through cooperation between universities and universities of applied sciences, we can establish well-functioning and cost-effective sports services that benefit the majority of students.

More information: Recommendations for higher education sports 2018 (in Finnish, summary in English) & Koulupäivän aikainen liikunta ja oppiminen – tilannekatsaus tammikuu 2018 (in Finnish)

Download our parliamentary election goals via this link (pdf, in Finnish)

#liikkuvaopiskeluNYT parliamentary election campaign

As part of our parliamentary election advocacy work, OLL organised the #liikkuvaopiskeluNYT parliamentary election panel for candidates of Finland's six biggest parties in March 2019.

A wonderful group of politicians responsible for sports-related issues in their respective parties joined the panel: Paavo Arhinmäki from the Left Alliance, Ritva Elomaa from the Finns Party, Johanna Karimäki from the Green League, Hanna Kosonen from the Centre Party, Sari Multala from the National Coalition Party and Joona Räsänen from the Social Democratic Party of Finland.

The panellists promised unanimously that the Schools/Students on the Move programme would be extended to higher education institutions and given the necessary resources during the next parliamentary term.

We will support and follow this expansion throughout the parliamentary term. OLL’s Higher Education on the Move activities are part of the expansion work.

We also published our #liikkuvaopiskeluNYT election video at the election panel. Watch the election video on our YouTube channel.

You can watch our parliamentary election panel on YouTube via this link (in Finnish).