Student non-discrimination and equality plan

1. Legal basis of the non-discrimination and equality plan

1.1 Legal basis of the non-discrimination and equality plan

The Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986) requires Careeria to draft an equality plan in order to prevent discrimination based on gender or gender expression (identity) in education and training. 

The Non-Discrimination Act  requires Careeria to have a plan that specifies the administrative and operational practices that will ensure the oversight and fostering of equality. No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of a personal characteristic. In addition to direct and indirect discrimination, the Non-Discrimination Act also defines discrimination as harassment, victimisation and an instruction or order to discriminate.

Careeria is required to assess the achievement of equality and non-discrimination in its operations and take the necessary measures to foster equality and non-discrimination.

The fostering of equality at Careeria is not just a question of ensuring fairness, but also laying the foundation for creating a pleasant, inspiring learning environment. Valuing all expertise and work equally promotes the well-being of students and personnel.

The goal is an equal, collaborative and productive working environment, in which equality is an integral part of our entire operating culture. Fostering equality is the obligation of each and every member of our institution.

Particular attention must be given to attitudes that hinder the achievement of equality and non-discrimination. Discriminatory attitudes are often subliminal and discriminatory structures are difficult to see. Without any changes in attitude, any efforts to foster equality and non-discrimination will only be superficially effective and short-lived.

2. Equality and non-discrimination

Student admissions are made in accordance with the selection criteria of each vocational education and training institution (In Finnish: Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön asetus opiskelijaksi ottamisen perusteista ammatillisessa perustutkintokoulutuksessa). https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170699

All students are entitled to receive education in accordance with the curriculum, student guidance counselling and study support immediately when needed.

All tools, work materials and learning materials are at everyone’s disposal. Students must never be put into an unfair position, such as in cases where students are allowed to use their own electronic devices. All students are also entitled to receive, free of charge, student welfare services required for taking courses as well as statutory student social welfare benefits and services. All students are entitled to all of the above regardless of their home municipality.

2.1 Study environment

All students taking courses are entitled to a safe study environment. Study conditions are adapted to suit the needs of all students. Even though every effort is made to make instruction as gender-neutral as possible (i.e. a minimal amount of attention is given to the gender of each student), attention is also given to ‘gender sensitivity’ in instruction.

All students are encouraged to find their own strengths. The goal is to prevent discrimination before it occurs, and an effort is made to identify and immediately address every case of discrimination that arises. An operating culture that values diversity and dialogue develops and supports equal encounters and interaction. Multiculturalism is considered a positive resource, which is supplemented by contributions made by different people.

Students and personnel of Careeria are entitled to decide what information on their health status or disability may be disclosed to others. Where minors are concerned, this matter is always decided upon together with the legal guardians of the minor. In adult education provided by Careeria, attention is given to the priority of the students’ interests, the students’ right to express their views and be heard, and respecting the students’ opinions.

2.2 Respecting the privacy of others

All persons studying or working at Careeria are to treat each other with respect and equality. No sexual or other harassment of any kind, whether mental or physical, of any person or group will be tolerated in Careeria. Inappropriate language and behaviour will be dealt with. If a student is the victim of sexual harassment, the student must address this with the harasser. If this does not rectify the situation, the student must report the harassment to a member of the Careeria personnel. It is the responsibility of all adults at Careeria to always intervene. Serious cases are always criminal offences and their investigation must be left to the police.

2.3 Assessing completed credits

The assessment of completed credits is based on achieving the learning outcomes stated in the qualification requirements. The learning outcomes and assessment criteria are explained to all students. Students are provided with guidance in setting their own learning goals. In assessing learning outcomes, the students’ completed credits are not compared to those of other students, nor is the students’ personality, temperament or other personal characteristics of the students taken into consideration in the assessment. Assessment must be geared toward providing learning guidance. A wide variety of methods are used in assessment, and the teacher must provide each student with constant feedback on their progress. Students must be given an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a variety of ways. Students are entitled to receive information from their teachers on the assessment criteria being used to grade their performance. The final grades issued by Careeria are given using common criteria.

2.4 Equal treatment

The opposite of equality is inequality, and unfair treatment can be considered discrimination. Discrimination can be intentional or unintentional. It can be systematic and calculated or it may be the result of approaches or practices that have not been given proper consideration. For example, some people are accustomed to speaking or acting in a way that offends, belittles or excludes others. Many of the practices and structures in a given school can uphold and create inequality. It is for this reason that all practices, operating approaches and learning materials must be assessed from an equality and non-discrimination standpoint.

Positive special treatment (i.e. proportionately different treatment whose purpose is to foster actual non-discrimination or prevent or eliminate the adverse effects of discrimination) is not an example of discrimination.  

Examples of positive special treatment:

  • separately held courses in language and social studies 
  • targeted coaching and support is offered to students for various examinations and tests given at Careeria
  • guidance in how to use various services available in society. For example, banks, applying for a job, employment aid, TE employment services

Special treatment is not discrimination if it is based on law and otherwise seeks to achieve an acceptable outcome. The means by which an outcome is achieved are proportionate.

3 Fostering equality and non-discrimination

1.1 Reviewing the achievement of equality and non-discrimination

The equality and non-discrimination plan is based on an analysis of the equality and non-discrimination situation at Careeria.

In order to review the current state of equality at Careeria:

  • a student profile (gender, nationality and native language) of students at Careeria is compiled to help us identify the scope of our cultural environment
  • student responses to certain sections of the INKA survey (teaching, guidance and study, study environment, discrimination, bullying) are analysed in order to develop measures that foster equality and non-discrimination

The following can also be used for comparative information and further clarification:

  • data provided by the National student health survey (National Institute for Health and Welfare of Finland).
  • the amount of student health care resources offered by TEAviisari municipalities (Askola, Porvoo, Loviisa) www.teaviisari.fi

3.2 Vocational education and training (VET) student feedback

VET student feedback is used to monitor student satisfaction with the provision of education and its effectiveness. VET providers with an education licence granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture are responsible for gathering feedback.  All feedback is submitted anonymously. The results are used in internal quality control at the national level and by the education provider. VET legislation was reformed on 1 January 2018, and the student feedback surveys updated along with the reform were launched on 1 July 2018. 

Feedback is gathered from students whose goal is to earn a vocational upper secondary qualification, further vocational qualification or specialist vocational qualification, or any part or parts of the above qualifications. Feedback is not gathered from students who are completing preparatory education for vocational training.

Students take the survey twice during the course of their studies: at the beginning, when their personal competence development plan (PCDP) is first approved and at the end, when the students have demonstrated the competence required for earning the qualification specified in their PCDP or any part or parts of that qualification. The moment for demonstrating competence may be a competence demonstration or a task to be performed after it, such as completing common vocational unit subjects in accordance with the student’s PCDP.

The student feedback results are used by education providers, the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finnish National Agency for Education and working life committees in quality control and development.

All feedback questions provide information that promotes development. Furthermore, beginning in 2020, some of the survey questions will have an impact on calculating the amount of effectiveness-based funding to be granted to VET providers.  The use of student feedback in calculating the amount of funding to be granted is regulated in Ministry of Education and Culture Decree 415/2018.

https://www.oph.fi/sites/default/files/documents/amis-opiskelijapalautekyselyt-01-07-2019-alkaen-paivitetty-suomi.pdf

3.3 Measures and guidelines for 2020–2023

Measures for fostering non-discrimination

Topics

Targets

Measures

Responsible persons

Environment

Increase discussion on matters concerning non-discrimination.

Create an equal and tolerant environment that is enjoyable for everyone

All students and personnel at Careeria

Accessibility

Develop communications with an eye toward accessibility

Identify concrete communication problems and respond to them.

Each person ensures that their own services and information are up to date

Multicultural day

Address non-discrimination and equality issues and current matters concerning international mobility

Get people involved in the event.

Vice Principal and development director of international projects
Student union

Unequal treatment

Minimise incidents of discrimination

Increase information on discrimination and its forms. Discuss matters.

All students and personnel at Careeria

Discrimination

Minimise incidents of discrimination

Increase information on discrimination and its forms. Discuss matters in group guidance and processing feedback survey results.

All students and personnel at Careeria

Sexual harassment

Equal treatment of all people. Development of communication.

Preventive discussion and joint examination of operating models

All students and personnel at Careeria

Learning support

Accessibility

Different forms of support and learning environments

Teaching staff and other experts at Careeria

Student union activities

Equal treatment of all people. Development of communication.

The student union board and supervising vocational guidance counsellor choose suitable measures.

Education Manager Student union board and supervising vocational guidance counsellor

 

3.3 Drafting, reporting on and updating the equality and non-discrimination plan

The basis for the equality and non-discrimination plan is a report on the equality and non-discrimination situation at Careeria, which is done every three years by a working group composed of teacher, student welfare and student representatives. The Management Group decides on the composition of the working group, which determines concrete and fair measures to take toward achieving equality and non-discrimination at Careeria Oy.

Personnel and students are notified of any updates made to the equality and non-discrimination plan. The plan can be found on the intranet and Careeria’s public website.

APPENDIX 1. “Tasa-arvo työ on taitolaji” (in Finnish)

Link

https://www.oph.fi/sites/default/files/documents/173318_tasa_arvotyo_on_taitolaji_0.pdf