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Hanna Markkula-Kivisilta from Save the Children NGO is greeting Speaker of the Parliament Paula Risikko before handing the citizens’ initiative signed by 53,098 people demanding a free upper secondary education in Finland at the Parliament Building on May 8, 2018. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Over 53,000 have signed a citizens’ initiative demanding a free upper secondary education.

“Education after comprehensive school is not equally available for young people in Finland, even if the Finnish legislation is calling for it. The free comprehensive school system doesn’t guarantee a job anymore. The current job market requires at least an upper secondary education,” the initiative says.

On Tuesday afternoon, the initiative was handed to the Speaker of the Parliament Paula Risikko in her office at the Parliament Building.

Students observing the handover. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Risikko said that the subject has been on the parliament’s agenda for a while. “As a former leader in the education world, I think it’s very important that we put our minds’ to education.”

“This [initiative], like all the others that are received by the parliament, will receive a processing that it deserves.”

The initiative will be studied by the public servants, then it will go through the committees and then it will be processed by the parliament in a plenary session.

In Finland, studies in upper secondary school could cost as much as 2,600 euros, and some vocational schools can cost as much as several thousand euros.

As much as 15 percent of the Finnish youth have not graduated from an upper secondary school before reaching the age of 25.

According to a youth barometer to be released in 2018, every fourth of the drop-outs said that the biggest reason for quitting their studies was the lack of money.

In Finland, a citizens’ initiative can be processed by the parliament after it is signed by at least 50,000 people.