I’m Camilla Saarinen, 23-year-old student from Turku. I’m studying law and contemporary history and I’m interested in influencing the society and defending the quality of education. I’m running for the board of the Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) because I believe that education is the only road towards a more functional and equal society, that can survive the problems that humankind is facing.
The SYL board needs a determined critical thinker, who wants to understand and develop the organisation as a whole. That’s why I want to be doing the best possible advocacy work in SYL next year!
The quality of education
Every student has a right to high-quality education. Key parts of quality are student centered teaching and the pedagogical skills of the teachers. The universities should have functional and extensive systems for guaranteeing quality. The feedbacksystems should be comparable.
There won’t be quality without sufficient funding. There is an aim to increase the amount of highly educated, which is necessary and advantageous. At the same time the prospects of economy are not looking so good and the corona situation is making it worse. When the economy is not doing well there is a temptation to increase the number of new students without adequate amount of resources. The funding should be adequate every time the amount of new students is increased.
The universities need to have a strong motivation to maintain and increase quality. The national funding system should encourage the universities to develop the quality of education.
Accessibility of education
The equality of opportunity won’t become reality without student admissions that guarantee access to education from different backgrounds and situations. Therefore student admissions should primarily be based on entrance exams.
Last spring the amount of students selected based on upper secondary results was dramatically increased. This closes the door for part of applicants and puts the pressure to succeed on even younger people. However the results of upper secondary may be suitable as a selection factor in some fields.
The pathway of the open university has been discussed a lot lately. The pathway has clear advantages but when organised poorly it may become a year lasting entrance exam that only some can afford.
More about me
When I started my university studies I soon noticed how many problems there are in organising education. The Student Union seemed like the best place to make a difference because it’s important for me to work for the whole community. The first time in the General Assembly of SYL two years ago showed how important thing the student movement is promoting.
During this year in the board of the Student Union of Turku University I have learned a lot about advocacy work and have become a good team worker. In the board I express clearly my own views and also make sure that everyone else has the chance to do the same. It’s important for me to support others and give feedback whenever it is needed. I think there should be more culture of supporting other and I want to create it as well as I can.
Fairness, soldiarity and responsibility are important values for me. They are expressed in my fields of study, the positions I apply to and how I do my work.
I also value the nature, and I couldn’t imagine my life without the animals that are part of it. Especially the time I have spent with horses has taught me a lot about empathy, listening and good leadership. Because of my love towards nature I want to do my part in stopping the environmental and climate crisis. It is important for me that SYL is fighting against them as well.