“I’m not directly opposed to the takeover of educational institutions,” says Nea Nättinen, the president of the Norwegian Students’ Union. In the takeovers, the policies of the coalition-led government are opposed.
What what do the youth politicians of the coalition and basic Finns think about a situation where students take over buildings to oppose the government’s actions? The two largest parties in the government are specifically the Kokoumun and the Basic Finns.
For example, the core group of the takeover of the University of Helsinki the backgrounds are strongly on the left. A relatively small part of the huge masses of students participate in the takeovers. Some protests have been accused of not representing all students.
When the takeover of the University of Helsinki began, a data processing student Vikke Tiirola summarized the students’ goals in four points: cuts in housing allowances and the freezing of index increases in study allowances must be abandoned; the rights of international students must be taken care of; no one may receive tuition fees; and mental health services for students must be improved.
HS asked the chairman of the student union for an opinionated discussion Nea from Nättinen and from the chairman of Basic Finnish Youth From Lauri Laitis.
Coalition students chairman Nea Nättinen does not generally consider it a bad thing that students have taken over educational institutions with their opinions. However, he reminds us to balance freedom of speech and responsibility in demonstrations.
“Demonstrations are part of democracy and I am happy that the students are showing their strength. I’m not directly opposed to the takeover of educational institutions, but polarizing language and the presentation of incorrect claims should be avoided in demonstrations,” says Nättinen.
However, he is not satisfied with one thing. In Nättinen’s opinion, disinformation has been shared in the demonstrations.
“In expressions of opinion, for example, it has been claimed that the coalition is an extreme right-wing party.”
How about what is the opinion of the chairman of the students of the union about the argument presented, according to which Petteri Orpon (kok) the government’s policy is anti-student.
“The Orpo government is making cuts with a large amount to get savings. Despite the savings, research and development activities will receive more money, new starting positions in educational institutions will also be increased and funded,” he answers.
“Furthermore, students’ living conditions will improve when the student loan guarantee is increased. The amount left in the hand every month therefore increases”, explains Nättinen.
Nättinen herself does not feel that she is in a difficult position when she represents young students and the ruling party at the same time.
“In my role, I can act as a link between the students and the prime minister’s party. The task is sometimes challenging and balancing. I will bring the students’ concerns to the Government Council.”
Basic Finns chairman of the youth organization PS-nuoris Lauri Laitinen he also generally understands that students show their opinion by occupying educational institutions. Basic Finns do not have an actual student organization.
“It is understandable that the students show their opinion, because the Orpo government’s savings concern them. Students have the right to express their opinions,” says Laitinen.
However, Laitinen is not completely convinced that the opinions are impartial. For example, the takeovers of the University of Helsinki have emphasized that they are not party-politically committed.
“There have been students from a left-wing background in the demonstrations. In the demonstrations, opinions have also been expressed, for example, against the government’s immigration policy in general, says Laitinen.
Where have students opposed the government’s immigration policy?
“For example, at the student demonstration in Tampere, there were banners opposing the government’s immigration policy. This calls into question whether the opinions are impartial,” says Laitinen.
Laitinen knows that Orpo’s government’s savings are aimed at young students, but he doesn’t think the government’s policy is anti-student either.
“The index increases of the student allowance will be frozen. The solution must be understood, because there is no money and the current resources in education are allocated to basic education. Despite that, the funding of higher education institutions remains largely the same.”
Laitinen also does not feel that he is in an awkward position representing young students and the government party at the same time.
“I don’t find my position difficult. My understanding is, based on the discussions held at the youth organization’s gatherings, that young people studying in a university of applied sciences or a university accept the government’s policy.”
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