10.8 Current debates and reforms
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As reported in the press release (13.8.2021, available in Finnish) from the Ministry of Education and Culture handling its suggestions related to the state budget in the year 2022, the existing work procedures continues as mentioned when it comes to for example youth engagement, hindering social exclusion and development of the youth work and youth policy, as described in the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme 2020-2023. Funding for youth work is supposed to be 5 million euro less than what was allocated in 2021. The determining factor behind this reduction is that youth work among others has been funded mostly with gambling revenues and gambling-related harms are now to be reduced in accordance with different kinds of regulations, see more in Youth Wiki/Finland 1.7 Current debates and reforms.
As described in the Youth Research Network’s Näkökulma-publication (Viewpoint) entitled ‘What is school youth work? The research checks the definitions and aims of school youth work’ (available in Finnish), in Finland the state policy supports the rights of youth work to also take place in schools, as well as youth work’s potential to support individuals and groups in that arena. According to the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme 2020–2023, school youth work creates connections towards a smoother everyday living for many young people and towards a reduction in social exclusion. State subsidies for the school youth work have been shared by the Regional State Administration. In the funding regulations the role of school youth work is also seen as healing power when it comes to the damages caused by the lowered amount of contact teaching resulting from the Covid-19 epidemic. Based on those documents, youth workers are seen to have a professional capacity to support the development of group spirit in classrooms, as well as support the anti-bullying work. When it comes to the deeper nature of youth work, the text mentions that youth work might really have the capacity to bring to schools some new resources related to the needs aforementioned, because youth work always starts by hearing the youth’s point of view, and recognises the different kinds of life situations young people are in as well as their varying meaningful social relations, different kind of needs, cultures and their connections to the school cultures and first of all, recognised the young people themselves positively. This research is conducted by a research group Susanna Jurvanen, Eila Kauppinen, Tomi Kiilakoski, Antti Kivijärvi, Sofia Laine, Pia Nyman-Kurkiala and Anna Siegfrids. They work for the Youth Work Centre of Expertise Nuoska, which develops youth work models and evaluation methods at schools and educational institutes. The Center is led by the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences’s Youth Research and Development Center Juvenia.