Citing On internet privacy, be very afraid, a scholarly article published by Liz Mineo on Harward Law Today on August 25, 2017, where she writes that “Americans, in general, tend to mistrust government and trust corporations. Europeans tend to trust government and mistrust corporations”. Although Mineo here refers to general government surveillance, the statement that Europeans tend to trust government and mistrust corporations is, in my opinion, a generalization.
This informative article about internet surveillance allowed my mind to awkwardly transit from one topic to another concerning our educational system in Finland and mis/trusting government.
In Finland, where I currently live, the very basis of our educational system is to provide free-of-charge, public education at all levels and to every (EU) citizen living in this country. However, following the recession that began in 2008 as a consequence of a series of world events and as a conclusion of many factors, our current government decided, against earlier promises not to make any cuts into the educational system, to make a major cut (600 million euros) in Finland´s educational system.
As a consequence of these decisions, many teachers, university lecturers, professors and researchers lost their jobs, many of whom are now either unemployed or found new vacancies in universities around the world, e.g. in our neighbouring country Sweden.
Teaching used to be a rather secure profession in Finland. That, however, has drastically changed. Today, many teachers not only graduate to become unemployed or work with constant temporary contracts but also have to face continuous challenges in their profession e.g. caused by the fact that teachers, in general, are no longer as valued as they used to be at schools. What happened to authority and respect?
Especially since Finland has ranked so high in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) surveys and has for long been a leading country as of having one of the best educational systems in the world, the recent drastic financial cuts into our educational system have received a lot of attention both on national and international levels. Finland, a leading country in research and development, received notes from a number of sources: the academia, private individuals, economists, the European Commission, and OECD, only to mention a few. The news was shocking to many.
Is this a method of psychological influence, a straight way of destroying intellectual capital in a country? Who can estimate the long-term effects of our current government´s decisions upon the future of Finland that has historically excelled at education. Especially now that our government, simultaneously to making these unreasonable financial cuts in our educational system, makes efforts to export Finnish education to the world.
The financial cuts into our national educational system remind me of what happened to teachers and other academics/intellectuals in Cambodia in the 1970´s, where a communist regime suddenly took over the country only to slaughter approximately two (2) million people of its own within a few years as an effort to get rid of educated people in the country. Finland is not a communist state or comparable to Cambodia, but I keep asking myself what exactly our current government thinks they are doing.
Furthermore, it is highly questionable why a country invests such a high amount of tax payers´ money into an educational system that quite clearly no longer works. Why does this country offer free-of-charge (financed through tax incomes) education to its citizens widely, when it simultaneously and/or as a consequence leads to academics and highly educated people ending up being unemployed, or, basically being more or less forced to either a) employing themselves b) starting their own businesses and/or c) leaving the country to live and work in a country where academics are still held in high value?
There is something very wrong with our current educational system, and it remains to be seen what exactly the consequences of these decisions will be. For it is certain that drastic cuts into the educational system will have consequences, both short-term, and long-term.