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News about internationalisation

08.07.2016

Photo: Farzad Nazifi  | UnsplashPhoto: Farzad Nazifi | Unsplash

The focus of CIMO’s studies: international competences in SMEs and Finnish degree students abroad

CIMO has launched two large studies this year: one focuses on how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) benefit from the competences of international students and the other on finding out who the Finns studying in higher education abroad are. Furthermore, CIMO will collect the annual data for international mobility from educational institutions and dig further into the impact of study and training periods abroad. CIMO also continues to raise awareness of the importance of equal opportunities in international cooperation: A study conducted a few years ago raised concerns that still need to be addressed.

Student mobility plays an important role in international immigration: according to OECD statistics, about 4.5 million higher education students study abroad. There are over 20,000 foreign degree students in Finnish universities. In addition, thousands of vocational and higher education students come to Finland every year for student exchanges and training placements.

A project to encourage SMES to recruit international students and gain new competences

CIMO together with Owal Group is studying how Finnish SMEs make use of the skills of foreign people in Finland and what obstacles there are in this respect. Another aim of the study is to encourage businesses to offer placements for international students who look for practical training opportunities and to international graduates from Finnish universities. Furthermore, they want to gather information for educational institutions about the needs of businesses for recruiting international students and to help educational institutions develop the services they offer to businesses.

Who are Finnish degree students abroad?

According to the most current statistics by Kela – the Social Insurance Institution of Finland – over 7,500 Finnish students were studying for a degree abroad during academic year 2014-2015, the majority of them in higher education. We know very little of this group of people that represent the number of students in a medium-sized Finnish university. Who are they, what kinds of backgrounds do they come from and why do they decide to go abroad? What is their relationship with Finland and how do they feel about returning to Finland after their graduation? How do their career prospects look – will they make it in Finland or is studying abroad a springboard for permanent immigration?

A study that CIMO is conducting in cooperation with Kela and the Institute of Migration during 2016-2017 is searching answers to these questions.

The Global Mindedness survey now to cover vocational students too

Thousands of Finnish students go abroad every year for shorter periods, too, for student exchanges and work and on-the-job training placements. Impact of these exchanges have been studied in a variety of surveys that reveal a lot of positive things: students’ language skills and knowledge of foreign cultures have developed and the experiences have spurred their personal growth.

The aim of the Global Mindedness survey developed by CIMO and the University of Oulu is to measure other kinds of impact, too: does having lived abroad make a difference on how students interact with people who are different from them and come from different cultural backgrounds. The results of the pilot phase of the survey concerning higher education students were published in 2015. This year, the survey is also sent to a control group that does not go abroad, and to vocational students.

International experiences to all!

Equality in international opportunities is a visible part of CIMO’s work through the year. A study conducted with the University of Jyväskylä in 2012 showed that equality was lacking, for example, in international mobility: despite mobility numbers having gone up in all educational sectors, there were still big differences in the number of participants in relation to gender, place of residence and socio-economic background.

A lot of work has been put to achieve equality but the results are yet to show, at least in statistics: the majority of students going abroad are still girls and women regardless of the level of education. On the other hand, mobility is not a reliable measure of equality because only a part of pupils and students go on study and training periods abroad.

CIMO has launched a project International experiences to all! to address equality issues. The aim of the project is to improve equality in educational institutions by, for example, identifying and disseminating good practices between institutions. The main target groups are staff in upper secondary schools and vocational schools, boys and men and the male-dominated fields in vocational schools. An important part of the project is running a video campaign during the coming autumn to change attitudes of young people and to increase awareness of the benefits of international competences, among other things.

Statistics give information about international results

CIMO collects and publishes annual statistics about international mobility at different levels of education to follow results of international cooperation. The mobility figures of staff and students and infographics of vocational schools from 2015 are already published at CIMO website. Figures concerning general primary and secondary schools will also be updated in the autumn and statistics on adult education will be published for the first time.

Mobility figures of higher education will be updated during the summer and early autumn. In addition to figures concerning mobility of students and staff in higher education, CIMO publishes statistics on international degree students in Finnish universities, based on data provided by Statistics Finland, as well as data about Finnish students studying for higher education degrees abroad, based on student benefit figures by Kela.

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