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European perspectives on non formal learning

Finnish researcher Dr. Siru Korkala at C·A·P

14.12.2015 · C·A·P

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German-Finish researcher trio: Dr. Siru Korkala, from Helsinki (in the middle) with Eva Feldmann-Wojtachnia and Dr. Barbara Tham

Dr. Siru Korkala, is working in the Information services unit at CIMO, an expert organisation providing services on international mobility and co-operation based in Helsinki. CIMO is an Agency of the Ministry of Education and Culture, co-ordinating exchange programmes, trainee opportunities and scholarship schemes, and implement and inform about EU programmes in Finland. Together with the C·A·P, CIMO is a member of the international research network RAY. RAY stands for Research based Analysis of Youth in Action and is a network of National Agencies and researchers, which is monitoring the ERASMUS+: Youth in Action Programme. Against this background Dr. Siru Korkala is currently researcher in residence in Munich  at C·A·P. 

The following interview was conducted by Larissa Wöll, Research Group Youth and Europe at C·A·P.

You are active in the area of youth research. Which are your main fields of research?

I'm working in the field of youth research now, because of I am involved in the ERASMUS+ programs, where Youth in Action is actually one pillar of them. Originally, I’m a sociologist and I do research for internationalization of education in general. So I'm not only specialized in youth affairs, but also do research on internationalisation of general, vocational and adult education. In addition, I provide statistics of the student mobility in these fields of education.

You are together with the C·A·P a member of the international research network RAY. Is this the aim of your current stay here in Munich?

My purpose is to compare the RAY results from the last years between Finland and Germany from the perspective of non formal learning within the projects of Youth in Action. And of course I would like to get to know the approach of C·A·P during my stay.

Are there great differences between the German and the Finnish results?

From my view, the results are pretty much the same in both countries, but there are still some country-specific observations. E.g. Finnish participants seems to be more eager to 'learning to learn' or thought that they were more traditional as learners than participants from other cultures. Furthermore, the proportion of employed project leaders in Finland working in municipal youth services or in association has been higher than in other countries.

How do young people live in Finland? What about their sense of political and civic participation?

The Finish youth is quite worried about their future perspectives. However, the political attitude among Finnish youth is pretty good. Young people in Finland are quite tolerant, even the youth unemployment is very high in Finland.

And what about the 'True Finns' in the European Parliament? Is this political party attractive for young people?

We have this 'True Finns' party, which was strong in recent election (18 %), but the current support has decreased to 11 % and they are not at all tolerant. There are some young people, who feel the same as the 'True Finns', but it is more popular among older generations. Concerning the suddenly changed refugee situation in Finland and because of the high rate of unemployment, some young people focus their frustration on the refugees. That is why the 'True Finns' are getting more support among some young people.

Are the young people in Finland politically interested? Do they feel European?

Not so much. The turnout among young people in Finland is not so high. On average, less than 50 % of young people vote in elections. Some are very active, but not the majority. Young people in Finland feel European, that is why the support to the 'True Finns' is not so high among youth. Young people are very skilled in languages, especially in English for instance. According to RAY data, 90 % of Finnish participants think that they language skills have improved when participating to Youth in Action projects. 

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