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Parliament Won’t Restrict Student Aid After 1,000 Protesters Rise To the Barricades

Parliament Won’t Restrict Student Aid After 1,000 Protesters Rise To the Barricades

UPDATED:

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Hannu Jaakkola, the secretary of the General Assembly of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL), shaking his fist at the protest against the proposed bill of restricting student aid to only one degree in Helsinki on Friday March 14 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

What happened yesterday and was officially approved today in the last session of the parliament before the upcoming elections, is proof that a committed group of people can affect the minds of the politicians.

Click to find out more.

Today the parliament folded the proposed bill of removing a student’s right to apply student aid for a second degree.

Obviously, if the bill wasn’t folded it would have meant that one would have been stuck with their current degree or profession for a life-time because without the student aid, the 300-400 euros monthly ‘income’, a student couldn’t survive in the expensive Finnish society where raising the prices is more common than cutting.

Cutting, after all, is what the former cabinet and the government were seemingly suggesting as the only remedy for the economic slump.

But cutting from the poor or by wrecking the chance for lifetime learning, the strength and the sex appeal of Finnish education would be lost and that would have serious consequences to the future of the country.

“Do we want to make Finland a banana republic!?” one protester of about thousand screamed during the demonstration on Friday afternoon at 13:00, at the citizen’s square, located within a stone’s throw from the Parliament House.

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“Keep your fingers off the student aid!” yelled another.

Raija Vahasalo, the chair of the Education and Culture Committee, receiving a petition with a few thousand signatures demanding that the right to student aid is not altered. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Raija Vahasalo, the chair of the Education and Culture Committee, receiving a petition with a few thousand signatures demanding that the right to student aid is not altered. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The demonstrators had people inside the Parliament House, observing the full sitting where the government pondered on the bill.

After the protesters had yelled slogans so hard that “they were heard inside the parliament”, the good news started spreading.

 Ville Niinistö, a Green party MP, and Silvia Modig from the Left Alliance are thrilled to bits after hearing that the government would be withdrawing the bill of restricting student aid to only one degree. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Silvia Modig from the Left Alliance and Ville Niinistö, a Greens party MP, are thrilled to bits after hearing that the government would be withdrawing the bill of restricting the student aid. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

At about 13:30, the protesters were told that Kokoomus (The National Coalition Party) is not supporting the bill.

By next minute, the news sites were writing that the government would, indeed, be withdrawing the bill.

This caused an enormous amount of hugs, high fives and cheers that at least this time were surely heard inside the parliament.

On Saturday morning, as one of their last decisions, the parliament folded the bill by voting 185-1.

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A masked protester playing the flute at citizen’s square. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

 

About The Author

Tony Öhberg

The founder. Reporter and photojournalist. Salesman. Fluent in three languages. Pushing a career in journalism spanning two decades. Always looking for opportunities to tell another story.

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