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Second, macroeconomic policies have been prudent and counter-cyclical. Prudent fiscal policy in the run-up to the global financial crisis created space allowing temporary deficits to dampen the impact of the subsequent recession, without putting the long-term sustainability of public finances at risk. Excessive optimism may have led to untimely monetary policy tightening in , resulting in an extended period of low inflation.
How long will the current expansion last? Many clouds on the horizon, including geo-political tensions, financial instability and rising protectionism, hold the potential to harm Sweden, but on these the national authorities have little influence. Most concretely, having a good education greatly improves the likelihood of finding a job and earning enough money.
Graduating from upper secondary education has become increasingly important in all countries, as the skills needed in the labour market are becoming more knowledge-based. High-school graduation rates therefore provide a good indication of whether a country is preparing its students to meet the minimum requirements of the job market. But graduation rates, while important, speak little to the quality of education received.
In , PISA focused on examining students' reading ability, skills in maths and level in sciences, as research shows that these skills are more reliable predictors of economic and social well-being than the number of years spent in school. The best-performing school systems manage to provide high-quality education to all students.
The trust that teachers enjoy in Finnish society is deserved and reflects the very high quality of their training. Finland has raised the social status of its teachers to a level where there are few occupations with higher status. University professors are among the most highly regarded of all professionals, and even the word for teacher is the same for school teachers as for university professors. In , there were more than 10 applicants for each of the available slots on university courses for training primary schoolteachers, making teaching one of the most sought-after professions.
As a result of this competitive climate, teaching is now a highly selective occupation in Finland, with highly skilled, well-trained teachers spread throughout the country. While teachers in Finland have always enjoyed respect in society, a combination of raising the bar for entry and granting teachers greater autonomy over their classrooms and working conditions than their peers enjoy elsewhere has helped to raise the status of the profession.
Regulatory Policy: Finland - OECD
Teachers have earned the trust of parents and the wider society by their demonstrated capacity to use professional discretion and judgment in the way they manage their classrooms and respond to the challenge of helping virtually all students become successful learners. Since the s, the Finnish system of accountability was redeveloped entirely from the bottom up. Teacher candidates are selected, in part, according to their capacity to convey their belief in the core mission of public education in Finland, which is deeply humanistic as well as civic and economic.
The preparation they receive is designed to build a powerful sense of individual responsibility for the learning and well-being of all the students in their care. During their careers, they must combine the roles of researcher and practitioner. The Innolukio initiative encourages creative thinking and entrepreneurship at the general upper secondary school level. After-school activities include weekly exercises, videos, competitions and learning materials to support creativity.
These experiences help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for future work tasks. Success factors include the innovative learning environments, active use of advocates, successful management of publicity and focus on entrepreneurship education. The project also connects students to universities and businesses.
The quality of our local living environment has a direct impact on our health and well-being.
OECD economic surveys 2010 : Finland
Outdoor air pollution is one important environmental issue that directly affects the quality of people's lives. Air pollution in urban centres, often caused by transport and the use of small-scale burning of wood or coal, is linked to a range of health problems, from minor eye irritation to upper respiratory symptoms in the short-term and chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer in the long-term. Children and the elderly may be particularly vulnerable.
Access to clean water is fundamental to human well-being. Despite significant progress in OECD countries in reducing water pollution, improvements in freshwater quality are not always easy to discern. Finland, like other Nordic countries, has set climate change mitigation and green growth as strong priorities.
The government is using a variety of instruments to promote energy efficiency, which supplement EU legislation. The government has identified EUR 2. Such evaluation is very useful and should be followed by the phasing out of harmful subsidies where feasible, taking into consideration wider socio-economic and competitiveness effects. Trust in government is essential for social cohesion and well-being.
High voter turnout is a measure of citizens' participation in the political process. Broader public engagement in the decision-making process is also important for holding the government to account and maintaining confidence in public institutions. The formal process for public engagement in developing laws and regulations is one way to measure the extent to which people can become involved in government decisions on key issues that affect their lives.
In Finland, the level of stakeholder engagement in developing regulations is 2. Lakes are a major feature of the Finnish landscape. The platform provides the public with basic information about water protection and about 56 lakes. Anyone is welcome to contribute by uploading photos, text, data, and observations or writing on discussion forums.
Uploaded observations include water temperature and levels, ice conditions, and water transparency. These observations are then used to create maps and time-series graphs. The site reaches between 10 visitors a week. Finland has launched a pilot project for an online "opinions service" lausuntopalvelu. It allows representatives of ministries, agencies and organisations, as well as citizens, to participate in open discussions during a consultation.
They are able to use the platform to browse and issue opinions, including commenting on the statements made by other users. The project also aims to help regulators collect and analyse information received from stakeholders more efficiently. Most OECD countries have enjoyed large gains in life expectancy over the past decades, thanks to improvements in living conditions, public health interventions and progress in medical care. Higher life expectancy is generally associated with higher health care spending per person, although many other factors have an impact on life expectancy such as living standards, lifestyles, education and environmental factors.
When asked, "How is your health in general? Minimising the effect of the recession on the labour market calls for nominal wage increases in line with economic conditions, greater flexibility in wage setting, ensuring earlier activation of unemployed and reforming unemployment and social benefits to better support work incentives.
Finland has an unusual combination of elevated unemployment replacement rates and late referral to labour market activation, which contributes to high levels of inactivity and a large number of beneficiaries. This combination risks building up greater structural unemployment over time. More ambitious activation needs to be accompanied by lower replacement rates in the unemployment insurance and related schemes to support labour market participation, job search and employment.
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Institutional responsibilities in labour market policies should be simplified and made more transparent. With an already low effective retirement age, additional early permanent exit from the labour market needs to be discouraged.
Education reform in Finland and the comprehensive school system
The recent success of restricting access to the unemployment pipeline should be followed up by a complete abolition of the system. Stricter criteria for entry into disability pensions should also be applied. The pension reform was a step in the right direction, but the old—age retirement system should be further adjusted to lower fiscal costs, raise the minimum retirement age and increase work incentives for older individuals.
Chapter 4: Rising inequalities challenge Finland's social model.
Income distribution in Finland remains among the most equitable in the OECD, although, as in a number of other countries, disparities have widened considerably over the past decade. While the tax and transfer system has been effective in reducing income inequality, changes made to the income tax system in the early s have contributed to rising disparities by encouraging income shifting among high earners. Disparities have also been increasing across regions, particularly in labour market outcomes. This reflects the dramatic structural change that has occurred since the early s, and the lack of policy success in tackling this transition.
These growing disparities in regional labour market outcomes have contributed to serious demographic imbalances building up in the regions.