Everyone is waiting for scientific information, but the preconditions for creating it have been reduced in Finland.
I packed the research literature in the professor’s room in the loan boxes at the end of a piece of academic dissertation. The spring sun was shining outside, and my future was shrouded in bright mist. I reflect on the Finnish university, science and information.
For a year, the whole world has roared and demanded scientific knowledge. When to get a coronary vaccine? Does it have side effects? How can you help those infected? How does the virus spread? What is the Indian variant? At times, it has seemed that the country is run by THL doctors, scientists, rather than the country’s government.
Behind the epidemiological questions are the questions of the man of the exception period. How does it work when you are out of contact on a monthly basis? When not seeing the other facial expressions behind the masks? What happens to the generation that has attended school in Zoom? Why do people in exceptional circumstances start to embrace each other aggressively? Why is the government the more popular the tighter the interest rate restrictions it puts forward, even if they are even unconstitutional?
Science could explain to us the world, both viruses and the effects of emergencies and quarantines. And explanations are really needed, outright shouting is required. But at the same time, the practice of science in Finland has become more and more difficult.
Let’s celebrate researched information theme year. But there are about a third of the vacancies in the university subject I work in due to a lack of money. The last is news item on the cessation of Estonian language teaching. The position of Sámi language lecturer was reduced to that of university teacher, no successor was sought for post doc. Another post doc still walks into the deserted corridors of the plant until his place is left empty after the summer as well. And I, too, have packed the substitute again when it ends again.
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Helsinki – in my spiritual home – has about 40 vacancies due to lack of funds. These also include, for example, the professorship of Slavic languages, professorships in domestic literature, general literary and musicology, professorships in ethnology and German philology, and so on, indefinitely.
The government is reported to complete the honor of education. At our university, it looks like this: when someone retires, falls ill, or graduates, no one is elected to replace him or her. The teaching staff is shrinking rapidly, but the government plans increase the number of students at the university enormously. There is still no new money coming.
No funding has been returned to universities since the cuts by Juha Sipilä’s (central) government. The situation in many sectors has already become impossible, the sectors have been virtually closed down. Of the five positions in the subject of musicology at the University of Helsinki, four are vacant. It has been decided to merge the Chinese and Japanese professorships due to savings, which from a language-savvy point of view sounds a bit like it would have suddenly been decided to merge the positions of violinist and sausage master or waitress and chef.
In 1992When I first came to college, the country was in the worst recession in history. Still, they could afford to pay for arts education, Finnish language research and to train experts who knew the great languages of Europe and Asia. Now that the gross domestic product has grown, Finland has become more international and the networks of Finnish businesses have expanded to Asia, there is no more money. You can’t even teach the language of a neighboring country, Estonia.
The rhetoric of the government has been a lie. The glory of education has not been restored. Science, like culture, does not seem to care about the left or the right. Sad, very sad thing.
The author is a linguist and author.