In large localities, high schools are separate and independent, but in small municipalities, high school and primary school are synergistically one and the same school with common facilities and teachers.
Pentti Rauhala suggested (HS Opinion 30.3.) Vocational high schools to assist rural high schools. Hinku pushes vocational study into small high schools is hard. The Government’s education policy report also envisions 2040: “Especially in depopulated areas, both upper secondary and vocational education are most often organized in the same organizing organizations.” The vision suggests that “especially in depopulated areas” the highest partner in high school would be a professional. The idea is wrong. The closest partner of a small high school is already and will continue to be a primary school. Of course, co-operation is being pursued in the direction of both professional and higher education institutions.
In large localities, high schools are separate and independent, but in small municipalities, high school and primary school are synergistically one and the same school with common facilities and teachers, most often under a common principal. The relative impact of high school on the vitality of an area in a small municipality is at least ten times that of urban places.
Raising compulsory school age in sparsely populated areas will turn high school and primary school into a 12-year primary school. This excellently functioning combination is still not recognized by decision-makers, even though it covers half of Finnish high schools in terms of numbers.
With a cost share of less than 23 per cent, the state has handed over the maintenance of upper secondary education to municipalities. This gives small municipalities the right to hold on to their high schools and thus guarantee both a heartbeat of vitality and a quality high school in their area.
There is only one emergency cry for small high schools: finally let the Minister of Education take on the task of reducing the number of compulsory courses that have become superfluous in high schools. It paralyzes much more than just the withered choices of EU languages.
Jukka O. Mattila
Chairman, Finnish Middle High School Association
Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by HS editorial. You can leave a comment or read the principles of writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.
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