Study Ability (Opiskelukyky)

This national project initiated by the National Union of University Students in Finland is based on the rationale that improving study ability impacts positively on employment outcomes and well-being. Student representatives and academic staff have been supported to run workshops on study ability.

Objectives of the Intervention

The project concentrates on raising awareness and improving study ability, i.e. students’ working ability. The intervention is aimed at the whole university sector in Finland. The project influences learning results, study success and well-being of the student and the study community. The long term benefits of good study ability extend all the way to working life; good study ability can be seen to predict good work ability and well-being at work.

Origins and rationale of this initiative

The student movement, i.e. SYL initiated the project and it was possible to execute with ESF funding. SYL is an organization that aims to find solutions and solve problems. The Kyky project has been SYL’s answer to many economic and social questions such as lengthening careers, students’ well-being, better learning, etc. During last few years, SYL has trained student unions and university staff in study ability. All members of academic community can contribute to enhancing study ability.

Target groups intended as beneficiaries of this initiative

The project promotes study ability nationally in cooperation with different institutions.

Participating institutions, besides SYL, are two universities and their student unions. The project development has been done together with the faculties and the study entities by training their staff and students, as well as participating in the development processes.

The project disseminates information regarding study ability in the participating organisations, especially in higher education. The aims of the project have been spread for example at conferences and through published articles.

SYL also supports the joint national network of the student unions. The members of the network are staff in student unions, who are responsible for supporting student organisations and societies.

With regards to the equality perspectives, one of the project’s specific aims is to identify more vulnerable groups and take into account their special needs or attention. One of the crucial elements in Kyky project has been accessibility and equality. All of the ways of contributing study ability include the concept of accessibility. One of the aims of Kyky project was to improve accessibility and equality in university communities. That includes all of the equality categories. Therefore, the project fulfils equality criteria.

Political and socio-economic factors that you believe have been important enablers for your initiative

The project has not been aimed to address political needs or support. The sole purpose has been to create better learning and teaching outcomes at universities in Finland. The workshops and functions of the project have gained large support in the university communities.

During past years there has been a political discussion about (higher) education, careers and public economic situation. The Kyky project has been SYL’s answer to lengthening careers and improving know-how. One of the concepts of Kyky project has been improving students’ learning skills and improving know-how. Apart from that study ability helps lengthening careers: students who feel well during studies usually feel well in work life too. Hence, investment in study ability is also investment in the future.

Overall Programme design and the methods and tools used to reach the goals

We have created workshop and teaching material to spread the aims of the project. This has been a successful way to spread the aim of the project. We have created a website where you can download the material, as well as printed out cards and booklets on how to organise workshops etc. The project leader and coordinator from SYL has travelled around universities in Finland and organised workshops for student reps and academic staff. These people have in turn spread the outcomes among their communities.

Describe if the project ensured its sustainability

The project has been running for a few years and coming to an end. Universities have effectively replicated the methods in training their staff in study ability. The Student organizations further the concept of study ability through their everyday work.

The work continues in SYL even though the project is not running anymore. One of the SYL’s education policy officers answers for study ability issues. Even bigger role plays the board member. The board member in charge of study ability keeps in touch with the student organizations, familiarizes new workers in SYL, trains and organizes workshops when needed etc.

Resources used in the initiative

The project budget was approximately 615 000 €. The main part of the project funding came from the European Social Fund and the participating universities. The participating universities and students' unions supported the project economically and on a work contribution. About 5 % of the funding came from SYL. Our staff also gave their expertise and work contribution for the project.

Did the intervention reach its objectives?

The project did not lead to unintended outcomes. There were no other quantitative indicators, except a promise to the financiers to reach 450 participants. That number was already reached in the early stages of the project. The success of the project has been estimated on the basis of the feedback that has been received and by reflecting our own experiences and observations.

The concept of study ability has become familiar in the university communities and in the field of educational and social politics. The website has viewers every week and SYL still trains and gives speeches about the subject.

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