Digital Solutions in Teacher Education enhance Wellbeing and Expertise

Authors: Essi Ryymin, Irma Kunnari and Alexandre Fonseca D’Andréa

Teacher education programme for Brazilian teachers

Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) has coordinated The VET Teachers for the Future – Professional Development Programme for Brazilian teachers since 2014 together with its partner Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK). The programme has been implemented altogether three times now. One training lasts about 7-9 months including study sections both in Finnish and in Brazilian learning environments. The programme scores 30 credits.

Altogether 106 teachers have graduated from the programme so far, and thousands of students and teacher colleagues have been contributed to regional development work in Brazil. The participants of the programme represent several disciplines and sciences, for example biotechnology, agricultural engineering, agronomy, computer science, chemistry, mathematics, linguistics, educational sciences and business administration. The teachers’ work in the Federal Institutes in Brazil, which are institutions for higher, basic and professional education specialized in offering vocational and technology education. The goal of the Federal Institutes is to answer to social and economic demands of the region by using applied research to boost innovations and the local development.

The goal in The VET Teachers for the Future programme is to encourage the participants to collaboratively rethink and design innovative education and learning environments to respond to their on-going regional and future challenges. The main contents of the program include competency-based education with 21st century skills and cooperation between universities and the world of work. The teacher students create and implement an individual or a shared development project during the training. The projects include a wide spectrum of inventions from the scientific research to high tech and social innovations, for example new digital applications and games for education, school management models, new pedagogical practices and training programmes as well as pedagogical models for preventing social exclusion.

Making professional development transparent by digital solutions

In the programme digital solutions were consciously utilized in order to make teachers’ professional development visible, especially issues related to relatedness, social connections and networked expertise. For example, teachers were encouraged to solve educational challenges together and share, and further develop, their thinking collaboratively and openly on different digital platforms. Hakkarainen and his team (2004) have developed a theoretical and methodological framework to examine networked expertise; higher-level competences that arise, in appropriate environments, from sustained collaborative efforts to solving problems and building knowledge together.

Many theorists have defined relatedness as a basic human need that is essential for wellbeing (Baumeister & Leary 1995; Deci Ryan 2012), and others have suggested that having stable, satisfying relationships is a general resilience factor across the lifespan (Mikulincer 1998). The role of positive emotions in the formation of social bonds (Baumeister & Leary 1995) and in the creation of important skills and resources (Fredrickson 2001; Sheldon King 2001) has been widely noticed.

Creating wellbeing for members of the community can be understood as a learning process that enhances relatedness, competence and autonomy (Ryan & Deci 2000; Sheldon & King 2001; Hakkarainen, Palonen, Paavola & Lehtinen 2004; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi 2000). These basic psychological needs are determinative with regard to optimal experience and wellbeing in daily life, also in an educational environment. Creating wellbeing within a teacher education programme can be seen then as an active, collaborative and situated process in which the relationship between individuals and their environment is constantly constructed and modified (Soini, Pyhältö & Pietarinen 2010).

The first study results reveals creative use of digital solutions

There in an ongoing study in which Finnish and Brazilian programme partners try to capture optimal practices of teachers’ professional development, in terms of building relatedness, feeling of competence, autonomy and networked expertise. A key question is also how the digital solutions can be used in wellbeing and networked expertise building?

During the training programme the group of teacher students from Brazil were personally interviewed. Also the data from the use of different digital platform and database was gathered, e.g. from learning diaries (blogs), discussion forums and competence demonstrations from interactive applications. The transcripts and the digital data is qualitatively analyzed. The content analysis (Krippendorff 2004) aimed to define the teachers in professional development practices by using case analysis of each participant’s descriptions of key events promoting professional development during the education programme (Patton 1990, 376-377).

The first study results (Kunnari & Ryymin 2016; Ryymin, Kunnari, Joyce & Laurikainen 2016; Ryymin et al. 2015) reveal that practices such as building, caring and respecting connections, creating positive interpretations and affordances together, adopting practices according to the perceived needs of the teachers have an impact on relationships that fostered senses of relatedness, competence and autonomy of teacher students. These relationships appeared to play an important role in creating successful social conditions for learning, wellbeing and pedagogical change. This can be seen as an interpersonal flourishing, which is a core feature of quality living across cultures.

The preliminary findings suggest also that the teachers consciously constructed networked expertise and socio-psychological wellbeing by applying digital solutions creatively, and this had a positive impact on their pedagogical practices. Creative, flexible and open use of digital solutions enhanced wellbeing for example by multiplying emotional, societal and cognitive support and by making peer support, positive feedback, reciprocal respect as well as cultural knowhow, knowledge, sensitivity and understanding transparent and accessible. The networked expertise was evolved, e.g. by sharing connections and resources, consulting colleagues and linking people and by solving relevant regional challenges together. The digital solutions seemed to facilitate the process effectively. The programme, as well as the applied research process, is ongoing, iterative and dynamic by its nature, and more detailed findings and conclusions will be reflected and dialogued later in the process. It is also very important to analyze what the challenges and obstacles in teachers’ professional development and pedagogical change are, as well as what are the qualities for successful international teacher education in the future.

Picture 1. The Graduation Seminar of the third The VET Teachers for the Future – Programme on 9th of December 2016 in Maceió, Brazil. HAMK Study Group together with their Tutor Teachers.


Essi Ryymin, Ph.D., Research and Development Manager, Principal Lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences, essi.ryymin(at)
Irma Kunnari, M.Ed., Principal Lecturer, Ph.D. Student, Häme University of Applied Sciences, irma.kunnari(at)
Alexandre Fonseca D’Andréa, Ph.D., Teacher of Basic, Technical and Technological Education, Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Paraíba,

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Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. 2012. Motivation, personality, and development within embedded social contexts: An overview of self-determination theory. In R. M. Ryan (Ed.), Oxford handbook of human motivation (pp. 85-107). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Fredrickson, BL. 2001. The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology: The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions. The American psychologist. 2001;56(3): 218-226.

Hakkarainen, K., Palonen, T., Paavola, S. & Lehtinen, E. 2004. Communities of networked expertise: Professional and educational perspectives. Advances in Learning and Instruction Series. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Krippendorff, K. 2004. Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Kunnari, I. & Ryymin, E. 2016. Successful Teacher Development in the Digital Era – The Role of Wellbeing and Networked Expertise. Paper presented in EAPRIL (The European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning) Conference, 3.-25.11.2016, Porto.

Mikulincer, M. 1998. Attachment working models and the sense of trust: An exploration of interaction goals and affect regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1209-1224.

Patton, M.Q. 1990. Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA.

Ryan, R.M. & Deci, E.L. 2001. On Happiness and Human Potential: A Review of Research on Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141-166.

Ryymin, E., Kunnari, I., Joyce, B. & Laurikainen, M. 2016. Networked Expertise Empowering Brazilian Teachers’ Professional Development and Pedagogical Change. International Journal for Cross-Diciplinary subjects in Education, 7(2), 2755-2760. DOI: 10.20533/ijcdse.2042.6364.2016.0375

Ryymin, E., Corado, C., Joyce, B., Kokkomäki, J., Kunnari, I., Laurikainen, M., Lianda, R & Viskari, M. 2015. Finnish-Brazilian Learning Process as an Experimental Path towards Pedagogical Change. Paper presented in NOLAN, The 8th Nordic Latin American Research Network Conference, 11.-13.6.2015, Helsinki.

Seligman, M.E.P., & Csikszentmihalyi M. 2000. Positive Psychology. An Introduction. American Psychologist, 55 (1), 5-14.

Sheldon, K.M., & King, L.A. 2001. Why positive psychology is necessary. American Psychologist, 56, 216-217.

Soini, T., Pyhältö, K. & Pietarinen, J. 2010. Pedagogical well-being: Reflecting learning and well-being in teachers’ work. Teaching and teachers: theory and practice, 16, 735–751.

eTourismCurriculum Finland: digitaalisen matkailuliiketoiminnan opetusverkosto

Kirjoittajat: Juho Pesonen, Outi Kähkönen, Päivi Hanni-Vaara


Matkailu on Suomessa kasvava vientiala, joka työllisti 140 000 työntekijää vuonna 2014 ja tuotti vientiin rinnastettavaa matkailutuloa yli neljä miljardia euroa (TEM 2016). Digitaalisuus sekä tieto- ja viestintäteknologiat ovat muuttaneet matkailualaa vallankumouksellisesti. Tiedon etsiminen, matkan ostaminen ja elämysten jakaminen on siirtynyt mitä suuremmissa määrin verkkoon. Matkatoimistot ja matkanjärjestäjät tarjoavat palveluitaan pääasiassa sähköisiä kanavia pitkin, ja perinteiset kivijalkatoimistot ovat lähestulkoon kadonneet katukuvasta. Automatisointi ja teknologian mahdollistamat itsevarausjärjestelmät ovat monin tavoin muuttaneet matkustuskokemustamme. Matkakohteiden ja yritysten kilpailukyvyn voidaan osittain katsoa määräytyvän sen perusteella, miten ne pystyvät tuomaan itsensä esille ja miten ne kykenevät viestimään vuorovaikutteisesti sähköisissä kanavissa. Digitaalisessa matkailuliiketoiminnassa on kuitenkin Suomessakin paljon kehityskohteita (TEM 2015).

Digitaalisen matkailuliiketoiminnan osaamista ei suomalaisissa korkeakouluissa ole tietääksemme ollut tähän asti juurikaan saatavilla, vaikka sen merkitys matkailualan kehittämiselle on elintärkeää. Tätä varten suomalaisissa ammattikorkeakouluissa on Itä-Suomen yliopiston matkailualan opetus- ja tutkimuskeskuksen (MOT) koordinaatiolla luotu uudenlainen verkostomallinen virtuaalinen opetuskokonaisuus eTourismCurriculum Finland. Tässä artikkelissa esitellään eTourismCurriculum Finlandin toiminta digitaalisen matkailuliiketoiminnan opetusverkostona. Kyseinen opetuskokonaisuus on jopa kansainvälisellä tasolla harvinainen tapa toteuttaa korkeakoulujen välistä yhteistyötä. Verkoston luomisessa kertyneet kokemukset ovat hyödyllisiä uusien korkeakouluverkostojen rakentamisessa.

Verkoston rakentaminen ja toiminnan aloittaminen

Matkailualan opetus- ja tutkimuskeskuksella oli vuosina 2011–2014 Etelä-Savon maakuntaliiton Euroopan aluekehitysrahaston rahoittama eMatkailu-hanke, jonka päämääränä oli parantaa matkailun sähköisen liiketoimintaosaamisen tutkimusedellytyksiä (EURA). Hankkeessa selvitettiin sähköisen matkailuliiketoiminnan koulutuksen tasoa ja kerättiin myös yhteystietoja sähköisen matkailuliiketoiminnan kurssien vastuuopettajista eri oppilaitoksissa. Tarkoituksena oli muodostaa lista niistä henkilöistä, joilla olisi tarjota osaamista aihepiirin opetuksen kehittämiseksi. Vuoden 2012 lopussa tiedusteltiin kaikilta näiltä opettajilta mielenkiintoa lähteä mukaan kansallisesti kehittämään matkailun verkkoliiketoiminnan opetusta suomalaisissa korkeakouluissa. Kiinnostus aihepiiriin oli alusta lähtien erittäin suurta. Verkkoliiketoiminnan merkitys ja etenkin sen osaamisen kehittäminen olivat monessa oppilaitoksessa tunnistettuja aihealueita. Ensimmäisessä tapaamisessa paikalla oli yhdeksän henkilöä, jotka edustivat Haaga-Helia AMK:ta, Rovaniemen AMK:ta, Jyväskylän AMK:ta, Satakunnan AMK:ta, MOT:a ja Savonlinnan seudun osaamiskeskusta. Kaikki toimijat osallistuivat alusta lähtien toimintaan omilla resursseillaan, eikä yhteistyötä ole rahoitettu millään tavalla muuten kuin koordinointina eMatkailu-hankkeesta vuosina 2013 ja 2014.

Verkostomallinen toiminta eTourismCurriculumissa

eTourismCurriculum-verkoston toiminta on alusta lähtien ollut kansallista. Mukana on ollut toimijoita ympäri Suomea eri oppilaitoksista, niin opintopäälliköitä kuin sähköisen matkailuliiketoiminnan opettajia. Tätä varten verkoston toiminnassa on hyödynnetty virtuaalisia työkaluja kuten Dropboxia, Basecampia ja Skypeä. Vuosina 2013–2015 työryhmä tapasi virtuaalisesti yhdeksän kertaa. Verkoston vakiinnuttua kuukausittaiset tapaamiset on järjestetty ainoastaan virtuaalisesti.

Verkostomallisen, kansallisen toiminnan rakentaminen on ollut haastavaa. Verkoston toiminnan muotoutuessa on haettu ja selvitetty ulkopuolisen rahoituksen mahdollisuuksia, mutta sopivaa rahoitusinstrumenttia ei ole löytynyt. eTourismCurriculumissa tarkoitus on ollut kehittää malli, joka toimisi ilman, että mukana olevien oppilaitoksien välillä pitäisi siirtyä rahaa. Tällöin olisi mahdollista pitää hallintokulut mahdollisimman pieninä ja tuottaa opintopisteitä kustannustehokkaasti.

Kahden ensimmäisen vuoden aikana tapaamisissa suunniteltiin sekä kurssien sisältöjä että toimintamalleja. Keväällä 2015 kehiteltiin toimintamalli, joka on nyt verkoston käytössä. Tässä mallissa jokainen verkoston oppilaitos sitoutuu järjestämään yhden, omaa erikoisosaamistaan vastaavan viiden opintopisteen kurssin sekä oman että verkoston muiden oppilaitosten opiskelijoiden käyttöön. Tällä tavalla pystytään seitsemän oppilaitoksen voimalla muodostamaan 35 opintopisteen opintokokonaisuus kaikkien kursseja järjestävien oppilaitosten saataville.

Kurssit päätettiin järjestää Open Moodle -järjestelmässä, sillä Moodle oli alustana tuttu monelle vastuuopettajalle. Siellä oli mahdollista luoda käyttäjätunnukset sekä ulkopuolisille opettajille että opiskelijoille. Oppilaitokset sidottiin toimintaan kaksivuotisella sopimuksella, jossa he sitoutuivat tarjoamaan verkoston käyttöön viiden opintopisteen vuosittaisen opettajaresurssin, resursseja kurssien kokonaiskehittämiseen oppilaitoksen omien käytänteiden mukaan, opiskelijoiden ilmoittautumisen kursseille ja arvosanojen rekisteröimisen omiin järjestelmiin sekä OpenMoodle-järjestelmän maksut.

Kaikki kurssit päätettiin järjestää englanniksi. Myös aihepiirin materiaalista suurin osa on englanniksi. Tällöin kurssit on mahdollista järjestää myös kansainvälisille opiskelijoille. Digitaalisen matkailuliiketoiminnan opetus verkostossa alkoi kesällä 2016. Kursseille voivat osallistua verkoston oppilaitosten opiskelijat sekä opiskelijat avoimen AMK:n kautta. Verkostoa koordinoi Itä-Suomen yliopisto, ja siinä ovat mukana Laurean ja Haaga-Helian lisäksi Karelian, Lapin, Jyväskylän ja Satakunnan ammattikorkeakoulut. Käytännössä oppilaitosten vastuuopettajat hoitavat opintojen markkinoinnin ja toimivat myös oppilaitosten yhteyshenkilöinä.


Opetuksesta on tulossa jatkuvasti vähemmän ja vähemmän aikaan ja paikkaan sidottua. Virtuaaliset työkalut mahdollistavat monipuoliset opetusmenetelmät sekä tehokkaan yhteistyön. Jopa tämän verkoston luomisen aikana sähköiset työkalut ovat kehittyneet uudelle tasolle ja virtuaalitapaamiset onnistuvat tänä päivänä jo loistavasti.

eTourismCurriculumilla on paljon annettavaa suomalaiselle korkeakoulutukselle. Tämän verkostomallin avulla mukana olevat oppilaitokset saavat kukin 35 opintopistettä opintoja opiskelijoilleen viiden opintopisteen opetusresurssilla. eTourismCurriculumissa ei ole verkostomaksua, vaan ainoastaan alustan ylläpitomaksut, jotka riippuvat opiskelijamääristä. Kurssit soveltuvat lisäksi erinomaisesti kansainvälisille opiskelijoille, kesäopintoihin ja avoimen ammattikorkeakoulun opintoihin. Lisäksi kursseja on yleensä mahdollista skaalata ylöspäin, eli virtuaalikursseille on mahdollista ottaa suuri määrä opiskelijoita ympäri Suomea. Tällä hetkellä tavoitteena onkin avata kaikki kurssit Avoimen ammattikorkeakoulun puolelle mahdollisimman nopeasti.

Virtuaaliopintojakson kehittäminen on innostanut opettajia hyödyntämään virtuaalisia työkaluja aiempaa monipuolisemmin ja jakamaan kokemuksia näistä kokeiluista myös opettajakollegoille omassa korkeakoulussa ja eTourismCurriculum-verkostossa. Asiantuntijoiden kokoaminen yhteen sekä avoin tietojen ja taitojen vaihto on lisännyt osaamista koko verkostossa ja kehittänyt tällä tavalla eTourismCurriculumin sisältöjen lisäksi myös muiden kurssien pedagogiikkaa ympäri Suomen mukana olevissa oppilaitoksissa.

Matkailun digitaalinen liiketoiminta kehittyy ja muuttuu huimaa vauhtia, minkä vuoksi haasteena on tarjota ajantasaisia ja ennakoiviakin opintoja. Haasteena tällaisessa verkostossa on myös jäsenten sitoutuminen. Oppilaitokset sidotaan tuottamaan oma kurssinsa kahden vuoden sopimuksilla kerrallaan. Toisaalta yksittäisen toimijan poisjääminen tai vaihtuminen ei opintokokonaisuutta romuta. Kurssit on alusta lähtien suunniteltu siten, että opiskelijoiden ei tarvitse käydä niitä tietyssä järjestyksessä. Opiskelijoiden ei myöskään tarvitse opiskella kaikkia kursseja, vaan he voivat omien mielenkiinnon kohteiden mukaan valita omaa osaamista parhaiten täydentävät eTourismCurriculum-kurssit.


Juho Pesonen, tutkimuspäällikkö, Itä-Suomen yliopisto, juho.pesonen(at)
Outi Kähkönen, lehtori, Lapin ammattikorkeakoulu, outi.kahkonen(at)
Päivi Hanni-Vaara, lehtori, Lapin ammattikorkeakoulu, paivi.hanni-vaara(at)

EURA. Euroopan aluekehitysrahaston (EAKR) rahoittaman projektin kuvaus. Haettu 22.3.2017 osoitteesta

TEM (2015). Digitaalisen matkailumarkkinoinnin ja myynnin haasteet ja ratkaisuehdotukset. Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriön julkaisuja. 69/2015.

TEM (2016). Matkailu on Suomessa kasvava vientiala ja merkittävä työllistäjä.

Kestävä kaupunkikehitys avainasemassa kehittyvillä markkinoilla

Kaupungistuminen kehittyvissä maissa

Urbanisoitumis- eli kaupungistumisprosessi on viime vuosikymmenten aikana keskittynyt yhä selvemmin kehittyviin maihin. Ominaista kehitykselle on se, että urbanisaatio tapahtuu alueilla, jotka eivät ole sosio-ekonomisesti kehittyneitä ja joissa teollinen tuotanto on vähäistä. Lisäksi rajalliset resurssit vaikuttavat alueilla asuviin ihmisiin ja luovat uusia haasteita paikallisten poliitikkojen ja asiantuntijoiden suunnittelutyöhön. (Potter 2008.) Näitä ovat muun muassa riittämätön infrastruktuuri ja resurssien, kuten veden ja sähkön vaikea saatavuus, slummiutuminen ja siitä koituvat turvallisuus- ja terveysriskit sekä kasvava rikollisuus ja korruptio. Asioita, jotka voivat pahimmillaan vaikuttaa merkittävästi maan taloudelliseen kasvuun ja kehitykseen. Ongelmien voidaan odottaa radikalisoituvan monessa maassa ilmastonmuutoksen myötä. (Frost ja Sullivan 2014.)

Namibian haasteet rakentamisessa, vedessä ja energiassa

Namibia on Lounais-Afrikassa Atlantin rannikolla sijaitseva 2,3 miljoonan asukkaan valtio, joka itsenäistyi vuonna 1990 Etelä-Afrikasta. Etelä-Afrikan vallan ja apartheidin aikaisten vapaata liikkuvuutta ja asumista rajoittavien säädösten poistuessa väestön muutto etenkin maaseudulta kaupunkiin voimistui merkittävästi (Indongo ym. 2013). Edelleen hallituksella on vaikeuksia riittämättömän maan sekä taloudellisten resurssien puutteen vuoksi tarjota laadukasta ja energiatehokasta asumista väestölle. Lisäksi Namibiassa on havaittavissa maailman suurimmat tuloerot gini-kertoimella mitattuna (Worldbank 2016), mikä luo erityistä painetta väestön muuttoon kaupunkeihin parempien palveluiden, työllisyysmahdollisuuksien ja koulutuksen toivossa.

Namibian valtio kamppailee yhä pahenevan vesikriisin ja kasvavien energiavaatimusten keskellä, jotka rasittavat kaupunkien toimintakykyä. Namibian maaperä on yksi Afrikan hedelmättömimmistä. On arvioitu, että 97 prosenttia vedestä menetetään kokonaishaihtumisen seurauksena. Namibiassa joudutaankin tukeutumaan suurilta osin pohjavesivarantoihin, jotka täyttyvät hitaasti vaihtelevien vesisateiden ja lyhytaikaisten virtausten vuoksi. Nykyinen kaupunkikehitys kuluttaa toiseksi eniten vettä maataloussektorin jälkeen ja on arvioitu, että Namibia tulee kärsimään absoluuttisesta vesipulasta vuoteen 2020 mennessä. (Khabi ja Mashauri 2014.) Namibiassa on hallinnon osalta reagoitu vallitsevaan tilanteeseen hitaasti. Maassa muun muassa noudatetaan edelleen vesilainsäädäntöä vuodelta 1956.

Namibia pyrkii energiaomavaraisuuteen ja luottaa sähkön tuotannossa lähinnä kaasuun ja dieselpolttoaineeseen. Kasvavat sähkön ja energian hinnat, riittämättömät energiavarannot ja riippuvuus maan ulkopuolisista energialähteistä aiheuttavat uhkaa maan tulevaisuuden kehitykselle. Namibialla on suunnitelmissa perustaa uusi Kudun kaasukenttää hyödyntävä voimala, jonka on määrä valmistua vuoteen 2020 mennessä. Namibiassa suhtaudutaan vaihtelevasti uusiutuvaa energiaa hyödyntäviin teknologioihin. Maassa on vasta hiljattain alettu heräämään uusiutuvan energian mahdollisuuksiin energiaomavaraisuuden saavuttamisessa (kuva 1).

SAMK tutustumassa Innosun-yrityksen 5 MW aurinkovoimaan (kuvaaja Minna Keinänen-Toivola)
Kuva 1. SAMK tutustumassa Innosun-yrityksen 5 MW aurinkovoimaan. Kuva: Minna Keinänen-Toivola

Moni valtion omistama yhtiö toimii maassa tehottomasti, mikä herättää epäilyksen siitä, kuinka Namibia kykenee vastaamaan tehokkaasti lisääntyvään veden ja energian kysyntään kasvavissa kaupungeissa. Vesi- ja energiasektoreilla keskeisiä palveluiden tarjoajia ovat valtion omistamat yritykset NamPower ja NamWater, jotka myös vaikuttavat siihen, keillä on oikeus käyttää palveluita ja millä hinnoin. Esimerkiksi uusiutuvaan energiaan perustuvia energiaratkaisuja tarjoavien itsenäisten energiatuottajien on toistaiseksi ollut hankala päästä markkinoille olemattoman kilpailun vuoksi.

Kohti kestävää kaupunkikehitystä yhteiskunnan ymmärtämisellä

Namibian valtio julkisti keväällä 2016 maan kehittämissuunnitelman (Harambee Prosperity Plan vuosille 2016/2017–2019/2020). Harambeen suunnitelmassa tavoitteina ovat tehokas hallinto, taloudellinen edistys, sosiaalinen eteneminen, infrastruktuurin kehitys, kansainväliset suhteet ja yhteistyö. Infrastruktuurin kehityksessä pääteemat ovat energia, vesi, liikenne ja ICT.

Lokakuussa 2015 alkanut Satakunnan ammattikorkeakoulun ja paikallisen yliopiston Namibia University of Science and Technology:n NAMURBAN -tutkimusprojekti kohtaa Namibian kansalliset suunnitelmat. Hankkeen päätavoitteena on kehittää tutkimukseen pohjautuva Namibian kaupunkiolosuhteisiin resurssitehokas konsepti, joka tuottaa veteen, uusiutuvaan energiaan, asumiseen, kierrätykseen ja ICT:hen liittyviä kokonaisratkaisuja. Mukana on lukuisia suomalaisia yrityksiä, kuten Fimuskraft Oy, GA90 Recycling Oy, Naps Solar Systems Inc., Rannan Teollisuuskone Oy, Riffid Oy, Sansox Oy, ja SWOcean Oy (kuva 2).

Heikki Koivisto/SAMK ja Fimuskraft Oy:n Ahti Koivunen tutustumassa Merlus Food Processor:n kalojen jalostusprosessiin. Kuva: Minna Keinänen-Toivola
Kuva 2. Heikki Koivisto/SAMK ja Fimuskraft Oy:n Ahti Koivunen tutustumassa Merlus Food Processor:n kalojen jalostusprosessiin. Kuva: Minna Keinänen-Toivola

Kokonaisratkaisujen luonnissa keskeistä on paikallistason toimijoiden, kuten kaupunkien johdon kuunteleminen (kuva 3) sekä yhteiskunnan kokonaisvaltaisempi ymmärtäminen. Teknologian lisäksi projektissa tutkitaan kestävien kaupunkijärjestelmien saavuttamiseen liittyvien eri toimijoiden (esim. yksityinen ja julkinen sektori) välisiä vuorovaikutussuhteita, toimintaa ohjaajia lakeja ja säädöksiä sekä teknisten infrastruktuurien omistussuhteita. Yhdessä nämä tekijät toimijoiden erilaisten tulevaisuuden odotusten kanssa määrittelevät urbaanien infrastruktuurien hallinnan tilaa vesi- ja energiasektoreilla Namibiassa.

Tutkimuksessa keskeisenä tavoitteena on luoda skenaarioita eli arvioita tulevaisuuden vesi- ja energiasektorien kehityksestä ja siitä, kuinka näiden sektoreiden osalta vallitsevat hallintojärjestelmät mahdollisesti mukautuvat tulevaisuuden vaatimuksiin ja muuttuviin olosuhteisiin. Tavoitteeseen sitoutuu ajatus yksityisen ja julkisen sektorin yhteistyöstä, jotta saavutetaan kestävät kaupunkijärjestelmät tulevaisuudessa.

Kuva 3. NAMURBAN projektin vetäjä Minna Keinänen-Toivola keskustelemassa kaupunkikehityksestä Walvis Bayn pormestarin kanssa. Kuva: Meri Olenius


Minna Keinänen-Toivola, FT, tutkimuspäällikkö, Satakunnan ammattikorkeakoulu, Teknologia-osaamisalue, minna.keinanen-toivola(at)
Nina Savela, valtiotieteiden kandidaatti, pro gradu-työntekijä, Turun yliopisto, nina.savela(at)

Frost and Sullivan Africa 2014. Presentation “Business Impact in Africa, Mega Trends driving mega opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa”

Indongo N., Angombe S. ja Nickanor N. 2013. Urbanisation in Namibia, Views from semi-formal and informal settlements. University of Namibia. Windhoek. Haettu 19.11.2016 osoitteesta

Khabi N., Mashauri, D. 2014. Sustainable Domestic and Industrial Water Utilisation in Namibia. European Journal of Scientific Research Vol. 127 (1): 46-57.

Potter, R. B. 2008. Geographies of Development: An introduction to Development Studies. Routledge Ltd.

Worldbank 2016. Haettu 19.11.2016 osoitteesta

Vastuullinen hankinta ilmailualalla


Tämä artikkeli perustuu Lahden ammattikorkeakoulussa tehtyyn opinnäytetyöhön Corporate responsibility in airline industry procurement – case Finnair oyj. Siinä tutkittiin, kuinka tulevaisuuden haasteisiin voitaisiin vastata integroimalla yritysvastuu yrityksen hankintaketjuun. Työn tavoitteena oli myös tarkastella hankinnan ja toimittajasuhteiden roolia yritysvastuussa sekä tarjota käytännönläheisiä työkaluja implementointiin, joka kattaa hankintatoimen prosessit ja toimintatavat. Case-tutkimusta varten haastateltiin neljää aiheen kannalta keskeistä yrityksen työntekijää: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Vice President of Procurement, Director of Sustainable Development sekä Brand Manager. Seuraavissa kappaleissa määritellään tutkimuksen liittyvät keskeiset termit, esitellään tutkimuksen case-yritys sekä kerrotaan lyhyesti tutkimustuloksista ja johtopäätöksistä.

Yritysvastuu ja vastuullinen hankinta

Yritysvastuulla (engl. corporate responsibility) tarkoitetaan yleisesti velvoitetta, joka ulottuu lainsäädännön ja talouden vaatimusten ulkopuolelle, ottaa huomioon sidosryhmien tarpeet ja odotukset siitä, mikä on hyväksyttävää ja oikeudenmukaista, ja pyrkii tavoittelemaan pitkän aikavälin hyötyjä yhteiskunnalle (Robbins & Decenzo 2001, Idowu & Louche 2011, 56 mukaan). Yritysvastuu jaetaan tyypillisesti kolmeen osa-alueeseen: ympäristövastuuseen, taloudelliseen ja sosiaaliseen vastuuseen. Toimitusketjun hallinta voidaan määritellä lähestymistavaksi, jossa koko verkosto toimittajista loppuasiakkaaseen on hallittu niin, että saavutetaan paras lopputulos koko verkoston kannalta (Cooper & Ellram 1993, 1). Hankinta puolestaan tarkoittaa liiketoiminnan johtamisen toimintoa, joka takaa organisaation tarvitsemien ulkoisten resurssien tunnistamisen, itse hankinnan, saatavuuden takaamisen ja johtamisen niin, että liiketoiminnan strategiset tavoitteet saavutetaan (CIPS 2013, 6).

Globaalissa taloudessa yritysten toimintaan vaikuttavat myös erilaiset kansainväliset megatrendit. Ernst & Young (2015) sekä KPMG (2014) mukaan esimerkiksi teknologinen kehitys, ilmastonmuutos, Aasian voimistuminen sekä resurssipula ovat voimistuvia trendejä, jotka yritysten tulisi ottaa huomioon säilyttääkseen asemansa ja markkinaosuutensa sekä menestyäkseen pitkällä tähtäimellä. Lisäksi sidosryhmien kasvava yhteiskunnallis-taloudellinen tietoisuus lisää painetta yrityksille toimia eettisesti ja huomioida oman hankintaketjunsa ympäristölliset ja yhteiskunnalliset vaikutukset (Tang & Zhou 2012, 485).

Yritykset nähdäänkin globaaleina maailmankansalaisina, joilta vaaditaan korkeampaa moraalia päätöksenteossa kuin yksityisiltä ihmisiltä. Vaatimukset näkyvät esimerkiksi yrityksille kohdistetussa lainsäädännössä ja sääntelyssä. On osoitettu, että yritykset, jotka ottavat huomioon sidosryhmiensä tarpeet ja odotukset sekä toimivat vastuullisesti, päihittävät kilpailijansa pitkällä aikavälillä (Eccles ym. 2011, Confino 2014). Jotta yritysvastuu olisi tehokasta ja muutoksia saataisiin aikaan, ja toisaalta voidaan hyödyntää sen tarjoamat mahdollisuudet liiketoiminnalle, sen on oltava integroitu prosesseihin ja toimintatapoihin (Juutinen 2016, 58).

Hankintojen osuus yrityksen liikevaihdosta voi olla jopa yli 50%, mikä tarkoittaa, että kumppanit edustavat ostajayritystä ja vastaavat omalta osaltaan ostavan organisaation menestyksestä. Riippuvuus parhaista toimittajista, jotka tukevat yritystä sen strategisissa tavoitteissa ja sitoutuvat yhteistyöhön, kasvaa. Tästä johtuen myös hankintaketjun johtamisen ja riskienhallinnan merkitys korostuvat. Kun puhutaan yritysvastuusta hankinnoissa, vastuu kattaa koko ketjun, ja ostava organisaatio on vastuussa myös kumppaneidensa toimintatavoista. (Nieminen 2016, 12-13; Hallikas ym. 2011.) Tämän vuoksi toimittajien valinnassa yritysvastuun tulee olla yksi valintaperuste, ja kilpailutuksen tulee olla avointa. Yritysvastuun jalkauttamista hankintaketjun sisällä edesauttaa myös selkeiden yritysvastuuta koskevien vaatimusten asettaminen, yritysten vastuullisuuden tavoitteellisuus ja mittaaminen, hankintaketjun sisäinen viestintä ja toiminnan läpinäkyvyys sekä toiminnan jatkuva kehittäminen. (Flanagan 2016a, Juutinen 2016, 193-194 mukaan).

Case: Finnair Oyj

Ilmailuala on haastava toimintaympäristö, joka on altis ulkoisille tekijöille, muutoksille ja megatrendeille. Lentoyhtiöt operoivat kapeilla voitoilla, ja kohtaavat jatkuvia paineita alentaa kustannuksiaan ja parantaa mm. polttoainetehokkuuttaan. Kilpailu alalla on kovaa, ja tästä syystä lentoyhtiön on huomioitava toimintaympäristönsä ylläpitääkseen markkinaosuutensa. (Clayton & Hilz 2015, IATA 2015.)

Tutkimuksen case-yritys Finnair Oyj on kotimainen lentoyhtiö, joka tarjoaa yhteydet yli sataan kohteeseen. Finnairin liikevaihto oli vuonna 2015 2.3 miljardia, josta operatiivinen liiketulos oli 23.7 miljoonaa. Yhtiön palveluksessa on noin 4800 työntekijää. Omalla toimialallaan Finnair on ollut edistyksellinen yritysvastuuasioissa ja saanut sen vuoksi myös tunnustusta. Finnair on raportoinut julkisesti ympäristövaikutuksistaan vuodesta 1997, ja yritysvastuustaan laajemmin vuodesta 2008 hyödyntäen GRI-raportointimallia (Global Reporting Initiative). Vuonna 2015 Finnair nimitettiin yhdeksi Pohjoismaiden johtavista yrityksistä ilmastonmuutokseen liittyvän tiedon raportoinnissa. (Finnair 2016a, 2-3, 86; Finnair 2016b, 2-3, 9.)

Yritysvastuun merkitys ilmailualalla

Haastateltavien näkemyksen mukaan yritysvastuu nähdään Finnairilla välttämättömänä osana pohjoismaista tapaa toimia sekä perusedellytyksenä liiketoiminnalle, uusille kumppanuuksille ja kasvulle. Ilmailualalla on tähän asti keskitytty lähinnä ympäristövastuuseen, ja sosiaalinen vastuu on vielä uutta. Yritysvastuun merkitys ja aihepiirin laajuus kasvavat jatkuvasti eikä yhdelläkään yrityksellä ole varaa olla huomioimatta sitä strategiassaan, toimitusjohtaja toteaa. Haasteellisen ja muutosalttiin toimialan vuoksi kaikki mahdollisuudet on hyödynnettävä eikä kilpailusta voida jäädä jälkeen. Tästä syystä Finnairilla halutaan olla valmiita tulevaan säätelyyn ja olla muutoksen edellä.

Vastuullisen liiketoiminnan uskotaan vaikuttavan positiivisesti niin oman henkilöstön kuin kumppaneidenkin motivaatioon, sitoutumiseen ja tyytyväisyyteen, mikä puolestaan luo edellytykset onnistumiselle. Yritysvastuun avulla voidaan myös luoda yritykselle lisäarvoa, sillä sen katsottiin tukevan yrityksen muutosvalmiutta, parantavan operaatioiden turvallisuutta ja tehokkuutta sekä pienentävän liiketoiminta-, brändi- ja hankintariskejä. Tämä kaikki parantaa yrityksen mainetta ja sosiaalista hyväksyttävyyttä, mikä puolestaan vahvistaa henkilöstön ja yhteistyökumppaneiden sitoutumista.

Finnairin mukaan menestyvä palveluyritys kuuntelee sidosryhmiään ja markkinoita – asiakkailla ja järjestöillä on kuuluva ääni julkisessa keskustelussa. Ilmailualan asiakas ei vaadi vastuuta yhtä yksityiskohtaisesti kuin muilla toimialoilla. Yritysasiakkaiden vaatimukset ja lainsäädäntö sen sijaan tuovat paineita. Valtion omistajuussuhteen nähdään tuovan lisää julkista näkyvyyttä sekä odotuksia vastuullisuuteen liittyen.

Vastuullinen hankinta ja toimittajien rooli

Yritysvastuun, riskienhallinnan ja läpinäkyvyyden haasteina nähdään pitkät hankintaketjut, monopolitoimittajat ja agenttiverkostot. Lisähaastetta vastuulliselle liiketoiminnalle tuovat kehittyvien maiden paikallinen kulttuuri, lainsäädäntö ja toimintatavat, jotka voivat olla hyvin erilaiset kuin Suomessa. Hankintaketjun rooli nähdään merkittävänä Finnairin strategialle, sillä toimittajat ovat kansainvälisten operaatioiden ja kustannustehokkaan kasvun mahdollistajia.

Lisäksi on hyvä muistaa, että asiakkaan näkökulmasta lentoyhtiön yhteistyökumppanien palvelu nähdään osana yhtiön palvelua – toimittajat edustavat omalta osaltaan Finnairia. Tästä syystä on varmistettava, että toimittajat kunnioittavat samoja kansainvälisesti hyväksyttyjä periaatteita ja toimintatapoja kuin yhtiö itse. Yritysvastuun integroimisessa Finnair hyödyntää erilaisia metodeja kuten eettinen toimintaohje (CoC), kilpailutus-työkalu ja sopimusklausuulit kilpailutuksessa sekä SEDEX (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange), jonka sisältämiä työkaluja ovat mm. itsearvioinnit, riskiarvioinnit sekä auditoinnit.


Vaatimalla vastuullisuutta toimittajiltaan lentoyhtiöt voivat myötävaikuttaa positiivisesti yhteisöissä ja samanaikaisesti parantaa mahdollisuuksiaan vastata kansainvälisiin haasteisiin ja toimintaympäristönsä muutoksiin. Tutkimustulosten perusteella voidaan todeta, että Finnairin yritysvastuustrategiaa tukevia tekijöitä ovat yrityksen visio ja kulttuuri, sitoutunut johto ja henkilöstö, kilpailu, lainsäädäntö ja säätely. Haasteina puolestaan ovat pitkät hankintaketjut, toimittajien monopolistinen neuvotteluasema ja se, ettei työntekijöillä ole riittävästi aikaa perehtyä yritysvastuuasioihin omassa työssään. Koska yritysvastuuasioissa vastuu kattaa koko ketjun, ostava organisaatio on vastuussa myös kumppaneidensa toimintatavoista.


Jasmiina Klemettinen, tradenomi, Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu, jasmiina.klemettinen(at)
Anna Pajari, FM, KTM, lehtori, Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu, anna.pajari(at)

CIPS. 2013. The Definitions of ‘procurement’ and ‘supply chain management’. Haettu 26.8.2016 osoitteesta

Clayton, E. & Hilz, A. 2015. Industry perspectives: 2015 Aviation trends. PwCs Strategy& Haettu 21.7.2016 osoitteesta

Confino, J. 2014. Sustainable corporations perform better financially; report finds. The Guardian. Haettu 20.4.2016 osoitteesta

Cooper, M. & Ellram, L. 1993. Characteristics of supply chain management and the implications for purchasing ans logistics strategy. International journal of logistics management, 4:2. 13-24.

Eccles, R., Ioannou, I. & Serafeim, G. 2011. The impact of Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Processes and Performance. Working paper number 12-035. Harward Business School. Haettu 3.8. 2016 osoitteesta

Ernst & Young. 2015. Megatrends 2015 – Making sense of a world in motion. Haettu 15.7.2016 osoitteesta$FILE/ey-megatrends-report-2015.pdf

Finnair. 2016a. Annual Report 2015. Finnair. Haettu 16.8.2016 osoitteesta

Finnair. 2016b. Financial statements 1JAN-31DEC 2015. Finnair. Haettu 16.8.2016 osoittesta

Hallikas, J., Koivisto-Pitkänen, M., Kulha, T., Lintukangas, K. & Puustinen, A. 2011. Supply management capability as a source of competitiveness in global value networks – Results of national survey. Technology Business Research Center. Research Reports 26. Lappeenranta University of Technology. Haettu 15.8.2016 osoitteesta

IATA (International Air Transport Association). 2015. Press Release No.: 58:Airlines Continue to Improve Profitability 5.1% Net Profit Margin for 2016. IATA. Haettu 22.7.2016 osoitteesta

Idowu, S., and Louche C. 2011. Theory & Practice of Corporate Social Responsibility, Chapter 4, Springer – Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg. 55 – 70. Haettu 8.7.2016 osoitteesta

Juutinen, S. 2016. Strategisen yritysvastuun käsikirja. 23-243. Helsinki: Talentum Pro.

Klemettinen, J. 2016. Corporate Responsibility in Airline Industry Procurement. Thesis. Lahti University of Applied Sciences Ltd, Degree Programme in International Trade.

KPMG. 2014, Future State 2030: The global megatrends shaping governments, publication number 130685. KPMG. Haettu 7.7.2016 osoitteesta

Nieminen, S. 2016. Hyvä hankinta, parempi bisnes. 10-151. Helsinki: Talentum Pro.

Tang, C. & Zhou, S. 2012. Research advances in environmentally and socially sustainable operations. European Journal of Operational Research Volume 223, Issue 3, 16 December 2012, 585–594.

Quality of life in a Kathmandu slum

Early in the morning in 9th of May 2012, people living in Thapathali slum community woke up, when bulldozers, protected by riot police forces, started the government program, “Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project”, by demolishing the large and most visible slum built on the river bank of Bagmati River. Few hours later the whole settlement together with its church and school, was a huge heap of sticks, bricks, plywood, sheet metal and pieces of tarpaulin. (Human Rights Watch 2012.)

In the shadows of the Asian urban jungle, slum and squatter settlements are growing in numbers but their existence is on other people’s hands. Living at the margins of society, their inhabitants are often deprived of basic access to education, health care and a decent standard of living. But can life also hold promises of a better future? What does wellbeing actually mean for the inhabitants themselves? This paper presents a joint research and development process by Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak), Turku University of Applied Sciences and the Nepalese St. Xavier’s College, with an aim to describe and analyze the wellbeing of people in the Balkhu riverside slum settlement in Kathmandu, Nepal. We are interested in answering two questions: What do people in a slum think about their everyday life? How satisfied are they with their current life?

Mother and children in Balkhu
Picture 1. Mother and children in Balkhu. PHOTO: Kyösti Voima

The student research team from Diak first established contact with the community and learned basic information through observations and initial discussions. This contact was based on earlier collaboration done by lecturer Kyösti Voima from Diak. Then community leaders, contractors, government personnel and various stakeholders, totaling over 30 persons, were interviewed, and the survey in Balkhu community was conducted. Local key resources were the trusted leader of a community-based organization in the settlement as well as the social development officer and environment and energy officer from the District Development Committee (DDC) in Kathmandu. Two Bachelor’s theses (Khanal 2014 and Rumba 2014) were done in this project.

The Balkhu settlement

Nepal is a poor nation. Estimated per capita Gross Domestic Product per capita PPP was US $ 2265 for the year 2014. At the same time GDP per capita PPP in Finland was US $ 38 569 (Trading Economics 2016). High rate of rural poverty has caused internal displacement and attracted people to settle in urban areas (Acharya 2010, 179-180). Uncontrolled rapid urbanization, low socio-economic growth, inadequate capacity to cope with housing needs and poor imbalanced governance has caused increase of urban poverty (Shakya 2010, 1; see picture 6).

Since the 1950s dozens of settlements have been established alongside the two major rivers, Bagmati and Vishnumati. The Balkhu settlement is located along the holy river Bagmati. The riverside has natural access to water, making it a preferred choice for new dwellers but these rivers are the most polluted ones in the country (Toffin 2010, 157–158; see picture 3). A need for drinkable water is huge and many ways to guarantee clean water are in use (see picture 5). Also sanitation is challenging (see picture 6). An estimated 1650 people reside in 360 households, making Balkhu one of the largest settlements in the valley. Several religious groups are established in the settlement area (Kivelä 2014).

The dumping ground with nearest settlement houses
Picture 2. The dumping ground with nearest settlement houses. PHOTO: Sami Kivelä

Next to Balkhu settlement is the Balkhu Fruit market and opposite are a few industries and warehouses. Balkhu is a strategic location from the economic point of view as it is next to Ring Road which connects with the transport system going away from Kathmandu Valley. There is an open dumping site used by the fruit market to dispose of unwanted market waste, majority of these being bio waste (see picture 2), and another unprotected mixed waste dumping site just on the opposite side of the river, increasing the waste load of the heavily polluted river.

Balkhu riverside environment
Picture 3. Balkhu riverside environment. PHOTO: Anup Khanal & Ramesh Rumba
Balkhu Housing types and alley
Picture 4. Balkhu Housing types and alley. PHOTO: Anup Khanal & Ramesh Rumba
 Water source in Balkhu
Picture 5. Water source in Balkhu. PHOTO: Anup Khanal & Ramesh Rumba
Sanitation in Balkhu
Picture 6. Sanitation in Balkhu. PHOTO: Anup Khanal & Ramesh Rumba

Quality of life in a slum

The concept of quality of life (QOL) has been expressed in different ways. The concept is close to such concepts like Good life, Wellbeing, Satisfaction and Happiness. The earliest well-known Western formulation of good life (quality of life) was expressed by Aristotle in his concept of “eudaimonia”, where the individuals were encouraged to realize their full potential to achieve a “good life.” In the meanwhile, Eastern philosophers brought forward the QOL by equal distribution of resources and restraining from individual desires. (Diener and Suh 1997, 190.) QOL according to the utilitarian theory presented the idea of satisfaction of the individual desires and a good society is defined as the one which provides the maximum satisfaction or positive experiences to its citizens. It is not limited to crude materialism but it also involves generosity and satisfaction from altruistic behavior. (Cobb 2000, 7.)

The quality of life of people in the Balkhu Settlement is presented from a subjective viewpoint as well as by objective observation. Objective observations have been done in participatory observation and interviews and results are documented in this article with photos from Balkhu. The subjective part of wellbeing deals with how satisfied Balkhu residents are with different domains of their life. Domains have been selected based on earlier studies on subjective wellbeing (see Kainulainen 2014). These themes are studied by questioning the following questions:

  • How well do you manage with everyday life on yourself?
  • How satisfied are you with your health, sanitation, present life, housing, neighbors and safety?
  • How do you see your future?

Quality of Life in the Balkhu Slum Settlement

In total 103 households out of recorded 361 were surveyed by four two person teams. The survey had 46 open- and close-ended questions which covered different themes. The themes were personal information, education, economic status, cultural status, health, water and sanitation, social issues, housing and political status.

As an illegal settlement the community is subject to government evacuation or demolition. The houses in Balkhu are also subject to natural calamities and the surrounding environment is not suitable for healthy living. The polluted Bagmati River is a great threat in terms of health and flooding. The settlement is subject to social and economic discrimination and marginalization. Given all these factors the community is considered insecure for living. The survey revealed 57 percent responded they were dissatisfied with safety within the community while only 20 percent of families were satisfied with the safety of the community.

The developing plans of Bagmati River by Kathmandu Municipality increase the peoples fear to be evacuated (see Bagmati action plan 2008). Every fourth responded evacuation as the fearful factor. 40 percent responded natural calamities such as flood and fire to be the other factors. Rest of the respondent mentioned fear of robbery, diseases, sewage and alcoholism to be fearful factors. People have good reason for their fear. The unsuccessful government action in 2012 made the situation of thousands of slum settlers even more vulnerable than before.

balkhun figure 1
Figure 1. Subjective wellbeing of the Balkhu squatter settlement.

Every third (36 %) of the people said they were dissatisfied with their present life while same share of them felt neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Only one in four were satisfied with their present life. 20 percent of Balkhu people felt their future was worsening while 22 percent felt their future was getting better. More than half of the people have the feeling that future will be the same as today. In regards to health facilities, 53 percent of the residents were not satisfied with their health. The sanitation in Balkhu was also not satisfactory for 65 percent of the people.


The Balkhu settlement is a prime example of urban poverty and very little improvement has been seen in addressing this issue as the number of settlements is growing year after year. According to our findings, neither the objective nor the subjective quality of life can been considered satisfactory in Balkhu. The settlement lacks the basic facilities such as proper shelter, safe drinking water, clean environment and electricity among others. Personal faith can be integral for maintaining hope – whether you are a Hindu, Buddhist, Christian or Muslim – and faith-based organizations have provided crucial practical and spiritual aid. However, care should always be taken that religious adherence does not exclude anyone from getting aid. Full dignity and respect of universal human rights need to be ensured for all.

Subjective wellbeing tells the story of how people feel about and evaluate their objective environment. Objective and subjective indicators tell us that the situation is extremely bad in slums. But subjective indicators also tell us that even in a very dire situation some people don’t give up and people have dreams and hope (see Biswas-Diener & Diener 2001). The facts we have brought up in this article give us as developers of UAS some hints how to strengthen the capacity of people living in slums to overcome the challenges.

Happiness in Balkhu
Picture 7. Happiness in Balkhu. PHOTO: Kyösti Voima

According to our experiences we recommend the following: building a “neutral” community house for community meetings to enable people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds to come together; improving the infrastructure: water, sanitation, waste management; training of preschool teachers to strengthen the children’s school readiness as well as starting a Neighborhood Care Point (NCP) to increase the children’s wellbeing and strengthening the capacity of the community health promotion.


Anup Khanal, Graduate Student, Bachelor of Social Services, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, droid.anup(at)
Sakari Kainulainen, Senior Specialist, Adjunct Professor, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, sakari.kainulainen(at)
Kyösti Voima, Lecturer in International Affairs, MPH Int’l Health, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, kyosti.voima(at)
Sami Kivelä, Lecturer in International Affairs, M. Theol, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, sami.kivela(at)

Acharya, B. R. (2010). Urban Poverty: A Sociological Study of Shankhamul Squatter. Accessed 26.9.2014,

Biswas-Diener, R. & Diener, E. (2001). Making the Best of a Bad Situation: Satisfaction in the Slums of Calcutta. Social Indicators Research 55(3), 329–352.

Cobb, C. W. (2000). Measurement tools and the quality of life. Accessed 12.10.2014.

Diener, E. & Suh, E. (1997). Measuring Quality of Life: Economic, Social, and Subjective Indicators. Accessed 12.10.2014.,percent20social,percent20andpercent20subjectivepercent20indicators.pdf

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Kainulainen, S. (2014). Mitä uutta kokemuksellisuus tuo hyvinvoinnin käsitteeseen ja käyttöön? Teoksessa A. Nieminen, A. Tarkiainen & E. Vuorio (toim.) Kokemustieto, hyvinvointi ja paikallisuus. Turun ammattikorkeakoulun Raportteja 177. Turku.

Khanal, A. (2014). Living on the Edge – Quality of life in Balkhu Squatter Settlement, Nepal. Bachelor of Social Services final thesis. Diaconia University of Applied Sciences.

Kivelä, S. (2014). Faiths and community in a riverside slum in Nepal. Paper presented at the Diaconia under Pressure conference in Stockholm 18.9.2014. Organized by the International Society for the Research and Study of Diaconia and Christian Social Practice.

Rumba, R. (2014). Balkhu Settlement in Kathmandu: A Poor Neighborhood. Situation Analysis. Bachelor of Social Services final thesis. Diaconia University of Applied Sciences.

Shakya, S. (2005). An extensive study of the urban poverty situation and its environmental implications in the squatter settlements of Kathmandu and Dharan. Accessed 18.10.2014.

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Trading Economics. Accessed 29.4.2016.

The Future Competences for Working with Older People

The Future Competences for Working with Older People

Population ageing is a common issue around the Europe. The number of older people is growing and by the year 2030 every third person in the EU will be more than 60 years of age. (DART 2012). Ageing affects the entire society and it will also challenge social and health care services. The growing number of the oldest age groups will indicate increasing need for social and health care services in the future. Moreover, at the same time care services and environments are changing and becoming more diverse, there is an obvious need for new kind of social and health care expertise.

European level cooperation in developing competences in active ageing is undeniable. International cooperation in competence development is needed to enhance the quality of services and to improve the attractiveness of older people care. European collaboration related to ageing is also beneficial when aiming to increase the mobility of workforce in social and health care services. Sharing common competences and expertise in active ageing provides more opportunities for future professionals to work in different international environments.

ELLAN unites European higher education institutions

ELLAN (European Later Life Active Network) project connects Higher Education Institutions extensively around the Europe. The consortium includes 26 partners from 25 European countries. ELLAN project (2013–2016) is funded by the EU´s Lifelong Learning Programme and coordinated by Savonia University of Applied Sciences, School of Health Care (Finland).

ELLAN project promotes European collaboration and exchange of good practices related to working with ageing population. ELLAN reconstructs the diverse educational approaches by developing an agreed European Core Competences Framework (ECCF) for working with older people. During the project the educational network is also sharing innovations in teaching and learning as well as identifying factors that may influence students to choose to work with older people in the future.

Developing competencies through research

The development of the ECCF is based upon five studies which were carried out during the 1st and 2nd year of the project: (1) Literature review exploring competences required in working with older people; (2) Qualitative research focusing on older people’s perceptions about required competences of professionals; (3) Quantitative study exploring professionals’ views of competences needed to support older people; (4) Quantitative research of factors influencing health and social care students’ views of older people; (5) Identification of best practice and innovative teaching and learning methods encouraging students to choose to work with older people.

The aim of the literature review was to find out which competences of the social and health care professionals working with older people related to the CanMEDS roles are described in the literature. CanMeds model was chosen to be the basis for the competences of ECCF. CanMEDS framework was originally formulated to describe the abilities physicians have to have in order to meet the health care needs of the people they serve. These abilities are grouped thematically under seven roles. A competent physician seamlessly integrates the competences of all seven CanMEDS roles. The CanMEDS roles are Medical Expert (the integrating role), Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar, and Professional. The overarching goal of CanMEDS is to improve patient care. The model has been adapted around the world, both within and outside the health professions (Frank et al. 2014). (Figure 1).

figure 1
Figure 1. CanMEDS roles

A total of 228 studies were found. According to the findings, found competences were in general directed to a particular healthcare worker with a wide variety of competences in the different roles. To get insight in the generic competences, a secondary analysis was conducted in which 38 studies were included. The research question was: which generic competences of health and social professionals related to the CanMEDS roles are described in the literature? The conclusion of the literature was that the care and support of older people is very complex. A multidisciplinary team approach is necessary. Collaboration and communication are essential competences to optimize the team approach but also to respond to the individual needs of older persons. Moreover, collaboration with the older person is important. Sometimes communication with older people requires special skills. The CanMEDS roles offers a framework for the needed competences. However, multicultural competences need to be added, and special attention has to be paid to technological competences and the recognition of older people abuse. (Roodbol & Dijkman 2016.)

Attitudes of health and social care students towards older people and also their perceptions of working with older people were examined in a survey. Undergraduate health and social care students (n=955) from five different European countries completed two widely used questionnaires: Attitudes towards Older People Scale (Kogan 1961) and Student´s Perception of Working with Older People Scale (Nolan et al. 2006). According to the results student´s attitudes were generally very positive towards older people. Those with least experience with older people displayed more negative attitudes. However, high reported experience with older people was not conclusively linked to positive attitudes. The main result of the study pointed out the apparent indecision among students to work with older people or choose careers of working with them in the future. (Coffey et al. 2015.)

Older people’s perceptions about the required competences of professionals working with older people were collected by interviews in six of the partner countries. The partners selected a convenience sample of 16 participants (N=96) and used semi-structured interviews for data collection. A common interview script was followed and data analysis was conducted using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). Four major themes were identified: (1) recognizing older people’s individuality as well as their personal and social background; (2) effective communication and positive relationships between professionals and older people; (3) technical competence and expertise as well as team work; (4) vocation, commitment and ethical recommendations. The development of these competencies has potential to improve the quality of care delivered by health and social care professionals to older people. (Soares 2015.)

International cooperation in competence development is needed to enhance the quality of services and to improve the attractiveness of older people care.

Social and health care professionals’ perspective to the competences related to older people was collected by a questionnaire in six partner countries (N=885). The quantitative method used was based on the modified Caring Nurse – Patient Interactions Scale (CNPI-70). The results showed that professionals perceive that it is important to encourage older people to believe in themselves, to motivate them, to acknowledge their potential, to give hope, help and support when needed. Professionalism in care of the older person was experienced as crucial. Health and social care professionals regard as important collaboration, risk assessment and the encouragement of autonomy. A central theme was accepting aging as a physiological process and not just a disease. (Felsmann & Andruszkiewicz 2015.)

A study to identify innovative good practices in education for gerontology was carried out in order to find learning approaches which could positively contribute students to choose a career in gerontology. A template was developed, based on the criteria for innovation and the Senses Framework as described by Nolan et al. (2002). The template was distributed to Higher Education Institutions providing education in Gerontology in five partner countries. Twenty-three templates were completed and analysed. According to the results, innovative teaching methods that take into account the needs of students were found and structured by Miller’s educational model for competence-based learning. The selected best practices will be disseminated throughout Europe. To conclude the study envisaged that the educational practices identified could positively influence students’ attitudes and decisions about working with older people. (Schoofs 2015.)

European Core Competences Framework (ECCF)

The European Core Competences Framework is based on the view that professionals are working in different roles while working with older people. The framework describes the minimum set of competences that constitutes a common baseline for all professionals in social and health care working with older people. The developed competences are described for the roles of CanMEDS model (Figure 1). The competences are formulated on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) level 6 (Bachelor) and 7 (Master). The ECCF will be formulated by bringing together the results of the studies described above and verified by using Delphi technique, involving 24 experts from 8 countries in order to find consensus of the developed framework. Following the CanMeds model seven roles will be described: expert, communicator, collaborator, organizer, health and welfare advocate, scholar and professional. (Dijkman & Roodbol 2015.)


The ECCF can be used in developing curricula of social and health care professionals. The desired outcome of this project is improved quality of higher education of social and health care professionals working with older people. The ECCF will be presented at the 23rd Nordic Congress on Gerontology in Tampere, Finland, June 2016, and will be available at the project website after that.


Jukka Aho, Senior Lecturer, MNSc., Savonia University of Applied Sciences, jukka.aho(at)
Marjut Arola, Principal Lecturer, Lic.Soc.Sc., Karelia University of Applied Sciences, marjut.arola(at)
Irma Mikkonen, Principal Lecturer, PhD, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Irma.mikkonen(at)

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3, 77-101.

Coffey, A., Buckley, C., Gaidys, U., Sansoni, J., Arola, M., Deimante-Hartmane, D., Corvo, E., Auer, S., Petersen-Ewert, C., & Tyrrell, M. (2015). Beliefs of students about growing older and perceptions of working in gerontology. Nursing older people. The journal for professionals working in gerontological care 27 (1), 33-37.

DART – Declining, Ageing and Regional Transformation 2012. Final report. Accessed 23.2.2016.

Dijkman, B. & Roodbol, P. (2015). European Competence Framework for working with older persons by professional´s health and social care. Report draft.

ELLAN – European Later Life Active Network. Accessed 23.2.2016

Felsmann, M. & Andruszkiewicz, A. (2016). The opinions of health and social care professionals on important competencies in caring for older people. Report draft.

Frank, J.R., Snell, L.S. & Sherbino J. (eds.) (2014). Draft CanMEDS 2015 Physician Competency Framework – Series III. Ottawa: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; 2014 September. Accessed 6.4.2016

Kogan, N. (1961). Attitudes toward old people: the development of a scale and an examination of correlates. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 63, 44-54.

Nolan, M.R., Brown, J., Davies, S., Nolan, J. & Keady, J. (2006). The Senses Framework: improving care for older people through a relationship-centered approach. Getting research in Practice (GRiP) Report No 2. Accessed 3.4.2016

Roodbol, P.F. & Dijkman, B. L. (2016). Generic competences for health and social workers working with older persons. Literature Review: A secondary analysis. Report draft.

Schoofs, G. (2015). Motivating Health and Social Care students to choose a career in Gerontology through innovative education. Report draft.

Soares, C. (2015). Older people’s views on professional competences. Report draft.

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Tvärprofessionellt lärande och internationalisering i Norden

Välfärdsmodellen i de nordiska länderna står inför många nya utmaningar. Utmaningar gäller alla, men framför allt de offentligt finansierade välfärdstjänster som ska förverkligas med allt knappare resurser nu och i framtiden. Något förenklat kunde man säga att utmaningarna är tre: en förändrad efterfrågan på välfärdstjänster då befolkningsstruktur och regional spridning förändras, en minskad statlig resurs att hantera förändringarna med och, slutligen, olika ideologiska och politiska ståndpunkter med avseende på hur staten ska bemöta utmaningarna (Nygård, 2013).

I anslutning till kraven på förändring, omstrukturering och effektivering efterlyses mera samarbete mellan professionerna, och ofta ett tvärprofessionellt eller multiprofessionellt förhållningssätt särskilt inom social- och hälsovård (Jfr WHO 2010; Social- och hälsovårdsministeriet 2013). I det finländska social- och hälsovårdsministeriets rapport står bl.a. att ”[d]et otillräckliga samarbetet mellan olika sektorer och nivåer inom basservicen är /…/ en klar svaghet.” (Social- och hälsovårdsministeriet, 2013, 61). Här riktas blickarna också mot utbildnings- och forskningsverksamheten där undertecknade är verksamma.

Vi som jobbar inom social- och hälsovårdens utbildningsområde har ett stort ansvar att bättre svara både mot behovet av utvecklandet av tvärprofessionella kompetenser inom välfärdsprofessionerna, och mot utvecklandet av en multiprofessionell arbetsmiljö som bättre svarar mot kunders/ klienters/ brukares individuella behov. ”För att bidra till utveckling av arbetsgemenskapernas och den multiprofessionella personalens kontinuerliga inlärning och kompetens /…/ krävs det ett intensivt samarbete med de regionala kompetenscentrumen inom det sociala området, primärvårdsenheterna, universiteten och skolorna, forskningsinstituten och vetenskapscentren.” (Social- och hälsovårdsministeriet, 2013, 102) Studerande ska utbildas både till att kunna betjäna kunders/ klienters/ brukares individuella behov och till att fylla de specifika kompetenskrav som är kopplade till behörighet och direktiv som rör de olika professionerna som vi utbildar yrkesutövare inom. Frågor som då ofta uppstår är bl.a.: i hur stor utsträckning ska vi svara mot arbetslivets krav på en hög specialiseringsgrad, specialiserad kunskap och en stark professionsidentitet? Och i hur stor utsträckning ska vi sträva efter att främja inlärning utgående ifrån en generalistisk kunskaps- och värdegrund, som svarar mot ett brett, mångprofessionellt behov i arbetet med olika brukar-/ klientgrupper?

Interdisciplinärt lärande och kommunikationskompetens

Helst skulle utbildningarna naturligtvis erbjuda allt, både det generella och det specifika – men i verkligheten låter det sig inte alltid göras. Utbildningarna svarar naturligtvis inte enbart mot kompetenskrav eller kunskapsideal, eller enbart mot arbetslivets uttalade nutida behov, utan även mot t.ex. ministeriers kvalitetskriterier, finansieringsindikatorer, ekonomiska och personella resurser m.m. Och oberoende av vilken väg vi väljer, behöver vi kunskap om varandra och respekt och ödmjukhet inför olika professioners specialkompetensers för att kunna erbjuda ett mera långsiktigt och tvärprofessionellt förhållningssätt. Detta uppnås dock inte i en handvändning, eller utan insats i tid och rum.

Woods (2007) föreslår en modell för interdisciplinär/ tvärvetenskaplig kommunikationskompetens som bygger på två grundläggande element: kompetens som sträcker sig över olika akademiska/ teoretiska kunskapsdomäner och därtill en effektiv kommunikationskompetens. Den förra inbegriper bl.a. konceptuell förståelse och förmågan att ge innehållet en meningsfull betydelse, och vid behov kompetens att diskutera sig fram till en delad förståelse mellan olika aktörer. Kommunikationskompetens omfattar å sin sida kulturella komponenter, så som färdighet att tolka och relatera den andra professionens verklighet till den egna referensramen, nyfikenhet att lära och förstå, samt förmåga att relatera sin egen praxis till en annan disciplins praxis. Slutligen krävs också en kritisk medvetenhet om den egna disciplinens kultur och förmåga att utvärdera densamma.

Norden som referensram

Ett sätt att försöka svara på de olika kraven omstruktureringar och samhällsutveckling ställer är att utnyttja de möjligheter internationellt samarbete erbjuder. Även detta är förvisso en strategi som ofta efterlyses, både i den offentliga debatten och i riktlinjer för utvecklingen inom utbildning och social- och hälsovård (Utbildningsministeriet, 2009).

Särskilt inom det sociala området i Svenskfinland upplever vi då att den nordiska kontexten utgör en ofta bortglömd, om än en av våra viktigaste – och mest tillgängliga – referensramar. Likheterna i välfärdsstat och värdegrund (t.ex. Nygård, 2013) skapar goda förutsättningar för att identifiera nyanser, dra slutsatser och inhämta kunskap som är överförbar till den egna kontexten och praxisen med relativt små medel. Tillsammans kan vi vidga vyerna för reflektion med en annan yrkesgrupp och/eller profession som kan fylla de behov vi svarar mot lika bra som – eller kanske rent av bättre än – vi själva och ”vår” egen profession.

Tre år i rad har NordPlus-nätverket NordPed arrangerat en intensivkurs ”Professional Competences within Social Education” med deltagare från fyra utbildningar i fyra nordiska länder: utbildningen till socionom vid Yrkeshögskolan Novia (Finland), socionomutbildningen vid Linnéuniversitete i (Sverige), (social-) pedagogutbildningen vid Professionshögskolan UCC (Danmark) och utbildningen till vernepleier (hälso- och socialarbetare) vid Högskolan i Harstad, numera UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet (Norge). Målet med kurserna har varit att fokusera på professionella kompetenser inom det sociala utbildningsområdet i Norden, särskilt etisk kompetens, kulturell kompetens och relationskompetens. En utgångspunkt har varit att både den tvärprofessionella kompetensen och den professionsspecifika kompetensen är av stor betydelse i människonära arbete, och att det holistiska perspektivet är viktigt i mötet med brukare och klienter. Studerande inom de sociala utbildningarna utbildas till att kunna hantera en mångfald av metoder beroende på brukarens belägenhet, samtidigt som det är viktigt att kunna se den egna professionens gränser och ta till vara andra professioners styrkor.

Under kursernas gång har deltagande studeranden fått frågan om vad de upplever att de lärt sig av varandra och varandras professioner i Norden. Här har studerande givit något olika svar under de olika intensivkurserna, men bl.a. upplevde kursdeltagarna hösten 2014 att socionomer i Sverige får en bredare teoretisk grund i utbildningen än övriga nordiska länder. Det som upplevdes som särskilt positivt var att mycket uppmärksamhet ägnas åt jämställdhet och mångfald – något utbildningarna och professionerna i övriga Norden kunde fördjupa sig mer i. Styrkan i den norska vernepleierutbildningen upplevdes i främsta rummet vara den hälsokompetens som kännetecknar utbildningen och professionen i Norge. Här poängteras spetskunskap och fokus på människor med kognitiv funktionsnedsättning – medan den generella synen med inriktning på missbruk, ungdomar och medellösa, intar mindre utrymme än i övriga deltagande utbildningar. Utbildningens och professionens styrka ansågs vara att vernepleierutbildningen erbjuder en helhetssyn på den enskilda brukaren – dock ur ett smalare perspektiv, vilket tillika utgör en begränsning. Då studerandena såg till den danska utbildningen, som har ett mera renodlat fokus på förskolepedagogik/ barnträdgårdslärarpedagogik, lyftes särskilt processen i arbetet med brukaren/ barnen fram. Kreativa angreppssätt så som musik, drama m.m. sågs som element som de övriga länderna och professionerna gärna kunde lära sig mera av. I Finland ingår mycket verksamhetsförlagd utbildning (praktik) i socionomutbildningen och detta upplevdes som mycket positivt av studerande från de övriga nordiska länderna.

På frågan om vad som kännetecknar en god socionom/ pedagog/ vernepleier har studerandena ändå varit eniga i att det människonära arbetet i alla nordiska länder karakteriseras av en etisk dimension där den professionella vågar utmana normer och värderingar med målet att ”se hela människan”, ”fokusera på individen och det bästa för hen” och att ”låta brukaren göra självständiga val och i största möjliga mån få bestämma över sitt eget liv” (citat ur studerandeutvärderingar).

Texten ovan illustrerar enskilda nedslag i tiden, varvid de nordiska studerandena inte nödvändigtvis skulle ge samma svar vid ett annat tillfälle. Omdömena exemplifierar ändå faktumet att de nordiska professionerna, sina likheter till trots, uppfattas som både olika och kompletterande.

Tvärprofessionellt lärande och internationalisering i ett

Då vi betraktar de tre nordiska intensivkurserna ”Professional Competences within Social Education” i backspegeln drar vi slutsatsen att en djupare förståelse av olika perspektiv skapas då nordiska studeranden och utbildningar får tid att utbyta kunskap och erfarenheter. Den djupare förståelsen hjälper studerande att renodla sin egen professionella identitet och värdegrund, samtidigt som de lär sig förståelse av varandra. Trots att ingen kan lära sig allt om varandras professioner på kort tid, ger mötet en grund för reflektion och ny förståelse.

Utöver de lärdomar vi vunnit med avseende på tvärprofessionalitet och internationalitet har vi lärt oss ytterligare en viktig dimension av lärande: personliga möten, ansikte mot ansikte, mellan människor från olika utbildningar, professioner och länder skapar ödmjukhet inför varandra, nya synsätt, respekt och kunskap att ta till vara varandras kompetens då den behövs. Det som krävs är dock tid och resurser för personliga möten mellan människor och mellan olika professioner. Endast givet tillräckligt tid och utrymme för personlig interaktion kan en genuin förståelse och en delad mening för att ett verkligt internationellt och interprofessionellt lärande äga rum.

 Bild: Novia UAS / Linus Lindholm


Susanne Jungerstam, överlärare, pol.dr., Yrkeshögskolan Novia, Finland, susanne.jungerstam(at)
Marie Albertsson, adjunkt, fil.lic., Linnéuniversitetet, Sverige, marie.albertsson(at)
Justin Karlson, lektor, cand.mag., Professionshøjskolen UCC, Danmark, juka(at)
Henny Kinn Solbjørg, universitetslektor, BA vernepleie, UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet, Norge, henny.kinn(at)

Nygård, M. (2013). Socialpolitik i Norden. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Social- och hälsovårdsministeriet (2013). Slutrapport av beredningsgruppen för en lag om ordnandet av social- och hälsovården. Helsingfors: Social- och hälsovårdsministeriets rapporter och promemorior 2013:47. Hämtad 8.2.2016 från

Utbildningsministeriet (2009). Korkeakoulujen kansainvälistymisstrategia 2009–2015. Opetusministeriön julkaisuja 2009:21. Hämtad 8.2.2016 från

WHO (2010). Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collobrative Practice. Hämtad 13.9.2013 från

Woods, C. (2007). Researching and developing interdisciplinary teaching: towards a conceptual framework for classroom communication. Higher Education, 54, 853-866.


The Developers of Digital Health and Welfare Services

Photo: Savonia UAS

The healthcare systems in Europe are facing new challenges such as ageing of the population, increased budgetary pressure and thereby there is a need for cost-efficient solutions. e and mHealth could be one way to tackle these challenges by contributing to a more patient-focused healthcare. (European Commission, 2014,2015a). Eysenbach defines eHealth as follows (2001): “e-health is an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. In a broader sense, the term characterizes not only a technical development, but also a state-of-mind, a way of thinking, an attitude, and a commitment for networked, global thinking, to improve health care locally, regionally, and worldwide by using information and communication technology.”

As the Digital Agenda for Europe states, challenges can be found in insufficient skills and motivation of the health care personnel to take part in the digital world (European Commission, 2015b). Research shows that continuous evaluation of information and competence is needed in health care education. The minimum competence requirements needed for health care professionals in the future are: the informatics knowledge base, informatics tools adoption and nursing and health information integration management. (Rajalahti, 2014)

The project “The Developer of Digital Health and Welfare Services” is a multi-cultural and multi-professional project that aims to create a new curriculum giving future professionals skills in developing improved eHealth and welfare services for citizens. The project is founded by Central Baltic. The partners are from Estonia, Latvia and Finland.

The project starts by evaluating the current curriculums to find the current knowledge about developing eHealth and welfare services.

In the second phase the project creates the new 30 ECTS curriculum. The curriculum is inspired by the recommendations of the International Medical Informatics Association (Mantas et al, 2010, 2011), The TIGER Initiative (2009) and the article Designing a Modern IT Curriculum (Westerlund & Pulkkis, 2015). Also the European Computer Driving License is defining skills all professionals´ already should have on a bachelor lever (EDCL, 2015).

[easy-tweet tweet=”Research shows that continuous evaluation of information and competence is needed in health care education. ” hashtags=”uasjournal, digitalization”]

The content of the new curriculum is based on measured competency and the latest multi-professional knowledge about the needs of the digital society. (eHealth Action Plan 2012, STM 2014, Finnish Nursing Association 2016.) In the study unit, future professionals ( in IT, economics, social- and health care) are developing their current competencies to match the needs of digital health care and welfare, taking into account the professional qualifications defined in EQF levels 5-6 as well as cultural differences in the Central Baltic region (Recommendation of the EU, 2008).

The curriculum will be based on the Learning by Developing (LbD) pedagogical model, developed in Laurea University of Applied Sciences (UAS) (Raij, 2007) In the LbD model, the goal is to bring about real changes in the world and new ways to act (Taatila & Raij,  2012). Combining theoretical and practical knowledge (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995) in the UAS´s projects means having knowledge in practice, of practice and for practice, and generating new innovations (Raij, 2007). Students, teachers, working life professionals and customers work together in real working life related research and development projects. The outcomes are innovations and new partner’s competences with regional actors. (Ahonen, Meristö, Ranta & Tuohimaa, 2014.)

The partners arrange a study unit piloting the curriculum. The students’ eHealth related competency is measured at the beginning and after the pilot. The curriculum, which is built on an e-learning platform, is piloted in Finnish (2), Estonian and Latvian VET/UAS programmes. The students (20×4) in the pilot get excellent competence and skills in designing and creating eHealth services in an international co-operation. Webinars and seminars support the studies. Training periods are also possible. The themes of the development projects are ageing citizens, cross-border workers, young people at risk of becoming excluded and people with chronic diseases.  The Structure of DeDiWe project is described in the figure one.

The Structure of Pilot
The figure 1. The Structure of Pilot.

It is important for the students to learn current core competencies and skills of their vocational subjects, but it is equally important to be a competent innovator and developer.

The new 30 ECTS study module is built around three main themes of 5 ECTS each; the client, the environment and the development of digital activities. These 15 ECTS can then be combined with 15 ECTS thesis or project work with working life partners.

The project not only creates a new curriculum but also gives the students the possibilities to implement development projects that are useful for the citizens. The core curriculum is the same for all students, which allows for a variety of professionals to work together. The level of the learning outcomes, as the starting level in the different modules, partly differ between professionals and to secure the possibility for all to develop the learning assignments are designed considering this. Each partner has its own set of students, but since they work in the same e-learning environment, cooperation is easy, regardless of country or organization.

The knowledge is viewed in three different ways: in, of and for practice. The new curriculum promotes multi-professional studying with the LbD – model, which gives students excellent opportunities to learn in real working life projects – and innovate new services to eHealth and welfare services.


Outi Ahonen, MNSc, Senior Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Science outi.ahonen(at)
Gun-Britt Lejonqvist, LHSc, Principla lecturer, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, gun-britt.lejonqvist(at)
Baiba Apkalna,, Project expert, Red Cross Medical College of Riga Stradins University, baiba.apkalna(at)
Kersti Viitkar, MNSc, Coordinator of Nursing and Midwifery Curricula, Tartu Health Care College, kerstiviitkar(at)

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eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020. 2012. Innovative healthcare for the 21st century6.12.2012. COM(2012) 736 final, Brussels. Retrieved January 11 2016 ,  from

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Mantas, J., Ammenwerth, E.,  Dermis, G., Hasman, A.,  Haux, R.,Hersh, W., Hovenga, E., Lun, KC. Marin, H. Martin-Sanchez, F. ja Wrighr G. 2011. Recommendations of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) on Education in Biomedical and Health Informatics -First Revision. European Journal for Biomedical. Informatics, 7(1), 3-18.

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Raij, K. 2007. Learning by developing. Laurea Publications A-58. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Rajalahti, E. 2014. The development of health educators’ nursing informatics competence. Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. Dissertations in Social Sciences and Business Studies, no 89. 2014.Publications of the University of Eastern Finland. University of Eastern  Finland, Kuopio. Available from,

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning, Annex II. 2008. Retrieved  January 12 2016, from

STM. 2014. TIETO HYVINVOINNIN JA UUDISTUVIEN PALVELUJEN TUKENA. Sote-tieto hyötykäyttöön–strategia. Retrieved  January 12 2016, from

Taatila, V. & Raij, K. 2012. Philosophical review of pragmatism as a basis for learning by developing pedagogy. Educational Philosophy and Theory 44(8) .doi: 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2011.00758.x

TIGER Initiative, Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform 2009: Informatics Competencies for Every Practicing Nurse: Recommendations from the TIGER Collaborative. 2009. Retrieved January 14 2016, from

Westerlund M, Pulkkis G. 2015. Designing a Modern IT Curriculum: Including Information Analytics as a Core Knowledge Area. Paper presented at the 17th Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2015), Sydney, Australia, January 2015. Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT), Vol. 160. D’Souza,D. &  Falkner,K. (Eds.)

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries

Education Technology Transfer to Developing Countries


Many companies and educational organisations in Finland are interested in the possibilities of exporting education to new countries. The Finnish school system has a good reputation all over the world. In this article, we will concentrate on India, as one of the authors is originally from India and he is currently working in the education sector. Professor Adaikalam represents the Loyola College Chennai, faculty of social work, and he addresses the topic from the Indian culture’s point of view.

India has rapidly become a major player in world economics. Nowadays, it is one of the largest economies in the world, and over the past two decades it has seen millions of people rise to higher socioeconomic classes. Development steps have also been taken, especially in the health and well-being sectors. India is a developing economy. Two-thirds of the population still live in rural areas, which poses challenges especially for vulnerable groups, regarding people’s access to services.

India has put a lot of effort into developing its school system. The entire school system in India is under a digitalization process, which means that schools of all levels need new kinds of technology and tools, but also an understanding of new needs of learning. It is possible that digital education technologies will eventually revolutionize the way we learn and teach. The problem in India is that best educational practices haven’t been scaled nationally, or the scaling is happening too slowly. One example of this is the fact that 1/5 of Indian children in fifth grade are not able to read simple words. Despite massive investments in developing the education system, learning results have not improved. Pritchett talks about the learning crisis, which he sees as a barrier to economic growth in developing countries (Pritchett 2013).


The population of India has grown quickly, and India has a large amount of young people. India is considered to be one of the world’s fastest growing Internet markets, and it will reach over 300 million Internet users by 2017.  Today, there are more households in developing countries with a mobile phone than with access to clean water. One year ago, the Indian government launched a program to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledgeable economy. The purpose of the government’s Digital India initiative is to make government services better available to citizens electronically by improving the online infrastructure and increasing Internet connectivity. At the same time, western countries are exporting their business such as digital learning platforms to the Indian markets. The country’s growing GDP and business opportunities especially in the healthcare and wellbeing markets attract many Finnish companies.

The effects of technology and its productivity expansion for the poor and the middle class, as well as the spreading of accountable governance, have so far been less than expected. Inequality is increasing, as better educated, well connected and more capable people have received most of the benefits. It has been noticed that the utilization of ICT-related products, services and research results from high-income environments entails challenges, especially in remote and low-income communities. An example of this is a project implemented in Peru, where all students of rural schools received computing equipment, but this did not bring any evidence of increasing learning skills in maths or languages. Hardware-centric educational technology projects planned and implemented in highly developed environments for use in developing countries without paying sufficient attention to local contexts are difficult to execute successfully. (World Bank group 2016.)

[easy-tweet tweet=”There are more households in developing countries with a mobile phone than with access to clean water. ” hashtags=”uasjournal, digitalization”]

The worst scenario regarding the export of education would be that citizens in developing countries become disappointed with the education system. At present, people already feel that education wastes their time and lecturers do not offer them access to working life. Another challenge is the quality of studies – there might be a lack of good pedagogical methods or not enough interest in investing teaching. Degree studies take time, and this is time that students could spend working and earning money for the family.

It is extremely important to carefully plan the digital transfer related to learning environments and education. The Indian school system consists of schools of different levels: At one level, schools are completely managed by government agencies. Another level is funded by the government but managed by foundations in a non-profit way. The third level consists of schools both funded and run by foundations on their own. Evidence shows that the mushroomed economic growth in India has concentrated on private schools and colleges and certain regions in an urban-centric way. The quality of education is the top priority, especially in remote areas and among the socially disadvantaged. Technology penetration is particularly crucial in these areas, and western countries have to take responsibility for exporting products in a sustainable way.


Digital tools and platforms in education could offer benefits for developing countries. The Indian government and the states of India have ranked education as one of their priorities and the education system has expanded a lot. Investments in the education sector need to be made to guarantee a skilled and professional workforce. The Government has launched programmes and initiatives to reduce gender inequality, promote girls’ schooling and improve the standard of education. The Indian education sector consists of a number of actors representing the central government, state and regional bodies, as well as private-sector operators.

Indians are well aware of Finland’s high performance in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey, and this offers good opportunities for cooperation in the education sector. Cooperation between educational organizations and businesses opens up prospects for companies to cooperate with each other. Especially digital learning solutions have great potential in Indian markets. When it comes to exporting education, the most important aspect to take into consideration is to understand that products need to be transformed in a suitable way to the specific society and culture.

A good way of exporting the digital education system to developing countries would be to use existing technology, which is available in the local environment and familiar for the local people. In addition to the successful export of digital education and ICT tools, it would be important to motivate and guide teachers and other key persons to use the exported technology in beneficial ways in the future. Supporting teachers and paying attention to pedagogical methods and curriculum material would offer a framework and understanding for the importance and possibilities of new technology. (World Bank Group 2016.) As Finland is boosting its educational export and many companies are planning to expand their business to developing countries, the authors of this article would like to emphasise the importance of paying attention to local environments and local citizens’ ways of living and behaving in those environments. Conducting user-centric surveys before expanding a business idea is not always enough, but extensive research implemented in collaboration with local people would support digital exports, even though it takes extra time, because this enables large-scale business transactions that benefit local people as well.


Education export should be based on understanding the needs of India’s ecosystems. A holistic perspective might be a good approach for looking at these ecosystems. A holistic approach to humans and societal development consists of essential elements such as the participation, agency and empowerment of people and enterprises, and these elements could help with the exploitation of digital tools. According to the OECD’s approach, holistic wellbeing includes physical, mental, emotional and social factors, as well as happiness and life satisfaction (OECD 2015). Without these elements, any digital products exported to developing countries will not scale and be implemented in practice successfully.


Sanna Juvonen, Senior Lecturer, RDI, M.Sc. (Education), Laurea University of Applied Sciences, sanna.juvonen(at)
Päivi Marjanen, Principal Lecturer, RDI, Ph.D. (Education), Laurea University of Applied Sciences, paivi.marjanen(at)
Francis Adaikalam, Assistant Professor, M.Phil. Social Medicine and Community Health, Loyola College Chennai, India, francis(at)

Annual Reports from Ministry of Finance, Govt. Of India. (9th February 2016)

Annual Economic Survey. (9th February 2016)

Asian Development Bank. (9th February 2016)

Education.(8th February 2016)

Finland´s India Action plan. Publication of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs 5/2013. Team Finland. Kopijyvä Oy, Jyväskylä.

Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. (8th February 2016).

India in Business Ministry of External Affairs, Govt, of India Investment and Technology Promotion Division (9th February 2016)

Indian Budget. (9th February 2016)

Kokonaiskonsepteilla vauhtia koulutusvientiin. (29th February 2016)

NFHS reports on access to health services, NSSO data & Education (9th. February 2016)

NFHS reports on access to health services, NSSO data health. (8th February 2016).

NSSO – Key Indicators of Social Consumption in India: Education. (8th. February 2016).

OECD. 2015, How’s Life? Measuring Well-being. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Pritchett, L. 2013, The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain’t Learning. Washington D.C.: Center for Global Development.

Refer Census India 2011 on Socio economic profile. (8th. February 2016)

School education in India. (8th February 2016)

Wikipedia Digital India. (9th February 2016)

With 3rd largest smartphone market in the world, India to reach 314 million mobile internet users by 2017. (8th February 2016)

World Bank Group. 2016. World development report – Digital Dividends. Washington D.C. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

TKI-käsikirja KV-metro hankkeen tuotoksena

”Maailman kärkeen” – TKI-käsikirja

Metropolialueen kansainvälistyvä liiketoiminta, monikulttuurinen työelämä ja ammattikorkeakoulujen vastavuoroiset TKI-vaihdot (KV-metro) -hankkeen tavoitteena on ollut edistää TKI-vaihtojen avulla metropolialueen yritysten kansainvälistymistä, opiskelijoiden työllistymistä työelämävalmiuksien kehittymisen, työyhteisöjen kulttuurisensitiivisyyden sekä yrittäjyyden kautta, sekä kehittää henkilöstövaihdon toimintamalleja, jotka edesauttavat henkilöstön ja yritysten TKI-yhteistyötä, osaamisen vaihtoa sekä kansainvälistymistä yrityksissä, järjestöissä ja julkisella sektorilla. Tämä artikkeli perustuu hankkeen yhteen lopputuotokseen ”Maailman kärkeen” TKI-käsikirjaan. Kirjan sisältö pohjautuu hankkeen aikana TKI-vaihdoissa olleiden ammattikorkeakoulujemme työntekijöiden haastatteluihin. (Katso:

Hankkeen aikana on tähän mennessä tehty 29 henkilöstövaihtoa ja 11 opiskelijavaihtoa EU:n ulkopuolisiin maihin, joihin ei perinteisesti ole ollut mahdollisuus matkustaa. Käsikirja perustuu yhteenvetona TKI-vaihtojen kokemuksiin, haastatteluihin ja TKI-johdon näkemyksiin.

Ammattikorkeakoulujen TKI-toimintaan liittynyt työelämä- ja yritysyhteistyö on ollut luonteeltaan sidottua ja lyhytkestoista yhteistyötä. TKI-toiminnan vaikuttavuuden varmistamiseksi on kehitettävä uusia, innovatiivisia toimintamalleja toiminnan tehokkuuden ja tuloksellisuuden näkökulmasta. Kansainvälinen TKI-toiminta ja siihen liittyvät yhteydet ja toimintatavat edellyttävät pitkäkestoista yhteistyötä ja yhtenäistettyjä, tehokkaita toimintatapoja.

Kansainvälisyys tuo lisävivahteen TKI-toimintaan ja haastaa tekijänsä pohtimaan TKI-toiminnan rahoituksen riittävyyttä, potentiaalisia kansainvälisiä kumppaneita ja toimintatapoja, joilla kansainvälinen yhteistyöverkosto saa tulosta aikaiseksi. Kansainvälinen TKI-toiminta edellyttää johdon sitoutumista, strategian antamaan suuntaa sekä arjessa tapahtuvaa aktiivista toimintaa.

Kansainvälisen TKI-toiminnan erityispiirteet

Hyvä projekti luo mahdollisuuksia uusien yritysten, innovaatioiden ja työpaikkojen syntymiselle. Kansainvälinen projekti tavoittelee globaaleja tuloksia ja innovaatioita. Kv-TKI-työssä erehtymisen vaara voi olla suurempi kuin paikallisessa projektissa, mutta myös mahdollisuudet voivat olla suurempia. Kokeilut salliva työkulttuuri on siis tarpeen. Kv-TKI-työssä korostuu koordinoinnin tärkeys ja huolellisuus, ja resursseja on varattava riittävästi. Kansainvälinen TKI-työ vaatii myös hyviä globaaleja verkostoja.

Strategian merkitys

Strategiseen johtamiseen liittyy muutama keskeinen periaate, joita on suositeltavaa soveltaa kansainvälisen TKI-toiminnan johtamisessa ammattikorkeakouluissa. Nämä periaatteet ovat osallistaminen, selkeys ja rullaavuus. Osallistaminen tarkoittaa kumppaneiden, opiskelijoiden ja henkilöstön osallistamista strategiatyöhön. Kansainvälisen TKI-toiminnan näkökulmasta erityisesti kansainvälisten kumppaneiden osallistaminen strategian uudistamiseen on suositeltavaa. Tämän päivän digitaaliset työkalut mahdollistavat vaikkapa kaikkien keskeisten kv-kumppaneiden kuulemisen strategiaprosessin aikana.

Rullaavuus tarkoittaa jatkuvaa strategian skannaamista suhteessa toimintaympäristöön. Rullaava strategiatyö tarkoittaa korkeakoulun kykyä tarkistaa ja päivittää strategiaa sitä mukaa kun tarvetta havaitaan. Strategian rullaavuus haastaa korkeakoulun johdon ja päättäjät uudistamaan strategiatyön toimintamallejaan.

Asiakkuudet ja verkostot

Kansainvälisessä TKI-toiminnassa yhteistyökuviot on hyvä rakentaa strategiselta pohjalta, pitkäjänteisesti ja systemaattisesti. Jokaisen TKI-johtajan tulisi kysyä ja jäsentää omat asiakassuhteensa kysymällä, kuka on asiakas, kuka kumppani, kuka sidosryhmän edustaja ja kuka yhteistyötaho. Mikä on näiden ryhmien ero omassa AMK:ssa sekä nykyinen arvo toiminnalle ja mikä on niiden potentiaalinen arvo? Mihin suuntaan näitä suhteita halutaan kehittää? Kenen kanssa halutaan syventää tekemistä ja vahvistaa suhdetta? Kuka hoitaa yhteyden kehen ja huolehtii, että sovitut asiat toteutuvat ja molemmat osapuolet ovat tyytyväisiä? Kansainväliset hankkeet toteutetaan verkostoissa. Verkostomaisen työtavan hallitseminen ja verkostojen toimintalogiikan ymmärtäminen on toimivan yhteistyön edellytys kansainvälisessä TKI-toiminnassa. Kansainvälisessä toimintaympäristössä on lisäksi välttämätöntä ymmärtää kulttuurisia erityispiirteitä, kuten valtasuhteita, jotka vaikuttavat asiakassuhteiden ja verkostojen rakentamiseen ja ylläpitämiseen.

Kansainväliset projektit tavoittelevat globaaleja, pysyviä innovaatioita

Hyvän projektin tavoitteet tukevat ohjelma-aluetta, kohderyhmiä sekä toteuttajaa. Onnistunut projekti kasvattaa kilpailukykyä, vetovoimaa, uutta osaamista, yhteistyötä sekä luo mahdollisuuksia uusien yritysten, innovaatioiden ja työpaikkojen syntymiselle. Projektin tulee katsoa tulevaisuuteen ja tarttua ajankohtaisiin ongelmiin. Syntyneiden innovaatioiden hyödyntämismahdollisuudet tulisi tunnistaa ja tuotteet ja osaaminen kaupallistaa. Riskien tunnistaminen, myynti- ja markkinointiosaaminen sekä kyky viestiä uskottavasti syntyneistä tuloksista luovat edellytyksiä vahvistuville kansainvälisille kumppanuuksille. Jo projektisuunnitelmassa voi olla tärkeä korostaa, että hankkeessa lähdetään kokeilemaan asioita, jolloin erehtyminen on osa luonnollista prosessia. Ilmapiirin soisi olevan sekä organisaatioissa että rahoittajan suunnalta erehdyksen sallivaa ja sitä kautta luovan oppimista, tuloksia ja innovaatioita.

Motivaatio ja rohkeus ratkaisee

Kansainvälisillä projektitoimijoilla pitää olla rohkeutta uskaltaakseen hypätä tuntemattomaan, ottaa riskejä sekä epäonnistua. Yksinomaan jo muulla kuin äidinkielellä toimiminen, matkustaminen ja muiden kulttuurien kohtaaminen saattavat ensimmäisillä kerroilla tuntua haastavalta. Työnantajan rooli on luoda sopivat puitteet motivaation mahdollistumiselle. Se, mitä esimies pitää tärkeänä, johdattelee työntekijöitä toimintaan. Jos kansainvälinen projektitoiminta saa johdolta täyden tuen, projektitoimijan motivaatio kasvaa haasteista riippumatta.

Projekteja tulisi suunnitella ja toteuttaa käyttäjälähtöisesti yhdessä yritysten kanssa. Yritysten omista tarpeista lähtevät projektit saavat yritykset sitoutumaan koko elinkaareen. Kansainväliset yritykset tuovat kaivattua muutosta ja projekti voi helpottaa kotimaisten pääsyä suurille markkinoille. Yritysten loppukäyttäjät tulisi olla mukana koko projektin elinkaaren, sillä käyttäjälähtöiset innovaatiot syntyvät vain yhdessä loppukäyttäjien kanssa. Opiskelijoiden, ja erityisesti kv-opiskelijoiden, tulisi olla mukana jo hankeaihioissa ja heidät tulisi sitouttaa mukaan projektin koko elinkaareen. Usein juuri opiskelijat ovat hankkeen tuloksien loppukäyttäjiä. Opettajien tulisi kokea hankkeiden integrointi opintojaksoille luontevaksi tavaksi oppia ja opettaa. Yhteiskehittäminen – co-creation – on toimintamalli, joka kannattaa ulottaa kaikkeen kansainväliseen TKI-toimintaan alkaen strategian uudistamisesta ja päätyen yksittäisen hankkeen toteutustapoihin ja opetukseen.


Kansainvälisen TKI-toiminnan rahoituksessa kannattaa lähtökohdaksi ottaa kv-toimintakulttuurin vahvistaminen, sillä kaikki lähtee valmisteluvaiheen panostuksista. Tällöin on tärkeää, että koko henkilöstö on valmis toimimaan kv-TKI-toiminnan eteen. Tällöin jokaista yhteydenottoa, valmistelevaa palaveria tai työpajaa ei tarvitse erikseen rahoittaa, vaan ne ovat olennainen osa työkuvia ja arjen toimintamalleja. Strategiakytkentä ja toimintasuunnitelmien kautta tiimi- ja yksilötasolle menevät kv-TKI-toiminnan tavoitteet ovat tässäkin avainasemassa. Jos on tahtoa, niin on toimintaakin -periaate pätee tässä.


Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeri Sanni Grahn-Laasosen avoimessa kirjeessä 27.10.2015 korkeakoulujen johdolle asetetaan tavoitteeksi, että suomalainen korkeakoululaitos on vuonna 2025 kansainvälisesti kilpailukykyinen, mahdollistaa korkeaan osaamiseen perustuvan suomalaisen yhteiskunnan uudistamisen ja tuottaa osaamista globaalien ongelmien ratkaisemiseen. Tarvitaan vahvempia elinkeinoelämäyhteyksiä sekä tutkimustulosten parempaa hyödyntämistä ja kaupallistamista. (Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeri Sanni Grahn-Laasosen avoin kirje yliopistojen ja ammattikorkeakoulujen johdolle 27.10.2015. Lyhennetty ja muokattu Haaga-Heliassa.)

Ammattikorkeakouluilla on kaikki mahdollisuudet saavuttaa kilpailukykyiset tulokset TKI-toiminnassa vuoteen 2025 mennessä. Keskeinen vahvuus on jo ’geeneissä’ – tapa toimia yhdessä elinkeinoelämän ja työyhteisöjen kanssa. Aktiivinen ja tavoitteellinen, strateginen johtaminen, kannustaminen ja TKI-toiminnan integroituminen osaksi koko korkeakoulun toimintaa ovat menestyksen avaimia.

Kansainvälisen TKI-toiminnan näkökulmasta olemme koonneet vielä näkökulmia, jotka vaikuttavat vahvistuvan lähitulevaisuudessa. Tämä voi toimia tarkistuslistana, kun lähdet suuntaamaan omaa ammattikorkeakouluasi kohti kärkeä.

  • Laajenna toimintakenttää yhdessä kumppaneiden kanssa.
  • Seuraa maailmankehitystä ja siirry jo ennakoiden niille alueille, joissa on mahdollisuus tuloksiin.
  • Ajattele isosti ja verkostoidu parhaiden kanssa.
  • Profiloidu, sillä sen merkitys kasvaa.
  • Osallistu rahoitusohjelmakehitykseen ja –arviointiin.
  • Hyödynnä verkostoja ohjelmakehitystyössä ja näihin vaikuttamisessa (esim. European Network of Living Labs eli ENoLL järjestö on suoraan vaikuttanut Horizon2020- ohjelman sisältöihin).
  • Tartu ilmiöihin. Maailman viheliäimmät ongelmat odottavat pieniä ja suuria innovaatioita. Kuinka nopeasti saat hankkeen käyntiin, jos tänään huomaatte kohteen johon tarttua?



Sakariina Heikkanen, TKI-asiantuntija, YTM, Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu,

Anu Sipilä, projektiasiantuntija, YAMK, Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu,

Marianne Wegmüller, projektiasiantuntija, KTM, Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu,

Lauri Tuomi, toimitusjohtaja, KTT, Profitmakers Oy,

Ammattikorkeakoulut ja pk-yritykset – kansainväliset innovaatiohankkeet tähtäimessä

Ammattikorkeakoulujen ja pk-yritysten erojen ja yhtäläisyyksien hyödyntäminen innovaatiotoiminnassa

Horizonhub-hanke lähestyi ammattikorkeakoulujen ja pk-yrityskumppaneiden välistä yhteistyötä kansainvälisten innovaatiohankkeiden näkökulmasta. Esimerkkinä kansainvälisistä innovaatiohankkeista mainittakoon EU:n tutkimuksen ja innovoinnin Horisontti 2020 -ohjelma, josta rahoitetaan eurooppalaisten verkostojen tutkimus- ja innovointihankkeita 2014–2020. Komissio ostaa näin eurooppalaisilta toimijoilta ratkaisuja yhteisesti tunnistettuihin haasteisiin, jotka liittyvät teollisuuden johtoasemaan mahdollistavissa ja teollisuusteknologioissa, yhteiskunnallisiin haasteisiin tai huipputason tieteen korkeatasoiseen tutkimukseen, tulevien ja kehitteillä olevien teknologioiden soveltamiseen, tutkijoiden liikkuvuuteen sekä tutkimusinfrastruktuureihin.

Horizonhubin kiinnostavin kohderyhmä olivat alueiden kasvuhakuiset, innovatiiviset pk-yritykset. Vastavuoroiset ja tavoitteelliset suhteet pk-yritysten kanssa ovat ammattikorkeakoulujen agendalla muutenkin – liittyyhän se ammattikorkeakoulun lakisääteiseen tehtävään työelämän ja alueiden kehittämisessä sekä laadukkaan korkeakouluopetuksen järjestämisessä.

Kansainvälisen hankevalmistelun neuvotteluissa yritysten ja ammattikorkeakoulujen yhteiselle neuvottelupöydälle on tuotava sekä yrityksen että koulutus- ja TKI-organisaation todellisuus – ja luotava yhteistä todellisuutta. Kukin ammattikorkeakoulu on valinnut profiilinsa ja painopistealueensa, mikä rajoittaa toisinaan yhteistyötä. Toisaalta profiloituminen voi luoda edellytyksiä huippuosaamisen kehittämiseen, joka on parhaimmillaan verkoston hyödynnettävissä. Yhteistyö vaatii sekä yritykseltä että ammattikorkeakoululta, tai ammattikorkeakouluyhteisöltä, kykyä tunnistaa erojaan ja yhtäläisyyksiään, ja hyödyntää näitä tavoitteellisesti.

Ammattikorkeakouluilla on usein hyvinkin merkittävät ja laajat kansainväliset verkostot. Toisaalta on myös erotettava relevantit ja aidot tutkimuskumppanit. Kansainvälisyyden hyödyntäminen ei välttämättä kaikissa aspekteissa realisoidu täysimääräisesti ammattikorkeakoulun opettajien, soveltavan tutkimuksen ja opiskelijoiden arjessa. Jo hakuvaiheessa verkostojen yhteistyökyvyt punnitaan, jotta jokainen osapuoli löytää roolinsa, tavoitteensa ja vaikuttavuutensa.

Esimerkkinä kokeilevasta toiminnasta ja verkoston roolien kehittymisestä toimii Kaakkois-Suomen Team-Finland verkoston kehittäminen, joka liittyy osaltaan ammattikorkeakoulun tavoitteisiin toimia älykkäänä osana verkostoa, tuottaen lisäarvoa ja kohdentaen roolinsa sopivaksi niin korkeakoulun omaan identiteettiin kuin alueen toimijoidenkin dynamiikkaan. Kansainvälisen liiketalouden lehtori toteutti tehtävän, jonka tavoitteet muotoiltiin yhteistyössä ydintoimijoiden kanssa. Kaakkois-Suomen Team-Finland verkoston omaleimaisuutta kehitettiin keräämällä Kaakkois-Suomen Team-Finland yhteyshenkilöiden näkemyksiä Team Finland alueellisen verkoston toiminnan kehitystarpeista ja yhteisestä suunnasta. Oletuksena on, että kun verkoston kokonaisuuden ja siihen liittyvien organisaatioiden toimijuus vahvistuu, kun verkoston jäsenet tunnistavat oman toimijan roolinsa suhteessa muihin ja ympäristöönsä. Team Finland toimijoina ammattikorkeakouluilla voi olla paljon annettavaa, ajaahan maakuvan markkinointi ja pk-yritysten kansainvälinen menestys myös ammattikorkeakoulujen kansainvälistymisen tavoitteita.

Osaamisen kehittämistä asiantuntijavaihtojen avulla

Osana projektia mallinnettiin asiantuntijavaihtoja ammattikorkeakoulujen ja elinkeinoelämän kesken. Erilaisia pilottivaihtoja toteutettiin 25 kappaletta mm. työelämäjaksoina, vastavuoroisina vaihtoina, yritysten edustajien vaihtoina ammattikorkeakouluun sekä kansainvälisinä vaihtoina. Joissakin vaihdoissa oli myös virtuaalisia elementtejä, ja vaihtojen kestot vaihtelivat. Vaihdon prosessissa huomioitiin valinta, valmistautuminen, tavoitteellinen vaihtotapahtuma ja raportointi. Syntyi malleja asiantuntijavaihdoista ja niiden keskeisistä elementeistä ammattikorkeakouluissa.

(klikkaa kuva isommaksi)

Havaintojen mukaan asiantuntijuuden vaihto nähdään toisinaan vain työelämäjaksoina tai ulkomaille suuntautuvinaan opettajavaihtoina, eikä suunnitelmallisuudelle, vastavuoroisuudelle ja jatkuvuudelle anneta painoa eikä resursseja. Hankkeen piloteissa todistettiin, että hyvin valmisteltu, ohjattu ja dokumentoitu vaihto ei vie enempää toteutusresurssia, mutta antaa paljon enemmän hyötyä sekä yksilölle että organisaatiolle. Tavoitteellinen vaihto on mielekäs vaihtoon lähtijälle. Vaihdolla pystytään vastaamaan paremmin ammattikorkeakoulun laajempiin kehittämistarpeisiin. Esimerkiksi Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulussa pilottivaihtoon pääsyn kriteerinä oli linkki johonkin TKI-hankevalmisteluun ja hankesuunnitelman edistäminen.

Asiantuntijavaihdot ovat tärkeitä työelämäkumppanuuksien kehittymisen kannalta. Vaihtojen aikana rakennetaan luottamusta ja henkilötason suhteita, joiden avulla yhteistyö on jatkossa helpompaa. Vaihtoihin osallistuneiden palautteen mukaan vaihdot luovat edellytyksiä hub-toiminnalle ja työelämäkumppanuudelle myös jatkossa. Palautteiden mukaan työelämäyhteistyön sisällyttäminen henkilöiden työnkuvaan olisi ehdottoman hyödyllistä niin henkilökunnan osaamisen kehittämisen ja työssäjaksamisen kannalta kuin myös todellisen työelämälähtöisen korkeakoulutuksen, tutkimuksen sekä uusien innovaatioiden takaajana. Yritysten puolesta kiiteltiin erityisesti jalkautumista yritysten arkeen, kuten esimerkiksi Saimaan ammattikorkeakoulun henkilöiden työpisteen osittaista siirtämistä fyysisesti osaksi Start Up Mill -yritystilaa. Monenlaiset yhteiset kohtaamisen tilat ovat merkityksellisiä. Toiminta kehittyi ja laajentui – myös yhteisen tilan jakaminen jatkuu hankkeen jälkeenkin.

Uutta yhteistyötä ja laadun parantamista – ammattikorkeakoulut pk-yritysten hubina

Voisivatko ammattikorkeakoulut toimia hubina pk-yrityksille sopiviin kansainvälisiin innovaatioverkoistoihin? Kehitteillä on hub-toimintamalli, joka osaltaan edistäisi ammattikorkeakouluyhteisön tutkimus-, kehitys- ja innovaatioyhteistyötä kansainvälisen hankeosaamisen näkökulmasta.

Hub-mallissa tärkeässä roolissa ovat paikalliset, innovatiiviset ja kasvuhakuiset pk-yritykset, yhdistykset ja muut yhteisöt, joilla on halua ja kykyä löytää oma roolinsa kansainvälisessä innovaatiotoiminnassa. Projektissa myös tunnistettiin olemassa olevia, toimivia paikallisia tai kansainvälisiä verkostoja, ja määriteltiin ammattikorkeakoulun roolia näissä, dynaamisissa verkostoissa. Horizonhub-hankkeen näkökulma on, että ammattikorkeakouluilla on merkittäviä paikallisia, toimivia hubeja. Toisinaan näissä hubeissa on myös kansainvälisiä aspekteja. Ammattikorkeakoulujen paikallisissa verkostoissa tapahtuu myös huomionarvoista kokeilevaa toimintaa. Hub-toiminnan edellytyksenä voidaan nähdä ammattikorkeakouluissa tarve kehittää edelleen systemaattisista pragmaattisen tiedon jakamista ja vertaisarviointia, jotta ammattikorkeakouluyhteisön tieto pääsee laajemmin aidosti kumuloitumaan yhteiseksi oppimisprosessiksi. Yritysten, korkeakoulujen ja elinkeinoyhtiöiden toimijoiden erilaisten odotusten hallinta ja yhteiset päämäärät haastavat toimijoita. Tiedeyliopistot tuottavat akateemisesti uutta tietoa, ammattikorkeakoulut soveltavaa tutkimusta ja yritykset kehittävät tuotteita ja palveluita liiketoimintansa parantamiseksi. Roolien on kuitenkin myös keskusteltava keskenään. Itsestäänselvyyksiä ei ole juurikaan. Sopimuksia on solmittava asioiden ennakoimiseksi.

Horizonhub-hankkeessa ajatusta ammattikorkeakoulusta pk-yritysten hankehubina pystyttiin testaamaan. Laajemmin tämä vaikuttaisi edellyttävän systematiikkaa ja resurssien hallintaa. On johdettava yhteistyökumppanuuksien tai asiakkuudenhallinnan prosesseja: tarvitaan näkemystä ja kokeilevaa toimintaa siitä, millaisella roolilla ja systematiikalla korkeakoulu voi tukea kansainvälistyviä, hankeyhteistyöstä kiinnostuneita yrityksiä. Tällä hetkellä yhteistyö liittyy yhteisiin, suurien verkostojen hankehakuihin, joissa myös ammattikorkeakoululla on selkeä, suunniteltu roolinsa. Näin toiminta on vahvasti yritysnäkökulmaista, mutta ei kuitenkaan yrityslähtöistä. Erilaisten intressien yhteensovittaminen on tärkeää, tähän luonnollisesti kuuluvat myös yhteiset päätökset siitä, kuka voi hyödyntää, omistaa ja käyttää mitäkin tietoa tai muuta odotettavaa tulosta ja mikä tieto taas on avointa. Ammattikorkeakouluissa on potentiaalia toimia innovatiivisille pk-yrityksille kumppanina edistäen uusia kansainvälisiä verkostoja, yhteistyötä ja yhteishankkeita, joissa parannetaan maailmaa – ainakin Eurooppaa. Samalla luodaan uutta arvokasta tietoa, referoidaan ja validoidaan uusilla yhteisillä tavoilla soveltavaa tutkimusta sekä parannetaan TKI-toiminnan laatua ja tuotetaan eri osapuolille kaupallisesti hyödynnettäviä liiketoimintamahdollisuuksia.

Horizonhub-hankkeessa syntyi yhteistä ymmärrystä, uusia verkostokumppaneita, yhteisiä hankehakuja, yhteisiä hankkeita, yhteisiä, edelleen kehittyviä malleja. Työ jatkuu. Hankevalmiuksien kehittäminen vaatii työtä. Vaikka ammattikorkeakouluissa mahdollistuu ainutlaatuisella tavalla kokeilevaa kehittämistä, soveltavaa tutkimusta ja hyvin laajaa, jo perinteitä kehittänyttä yhteistyötä, eivät uutuusarvoiset hankeideat ammattikorkeakoulussa tai verkostoissa kasva joka oksalla. Näitä helmiä kuitenkin on olemassa, jotka odottavat vaalijaansa. Soveltavan tutkimuksen ja erilaisten yhteisöjen toimivia verkostoja on kehitettävä entisestään, hankeprosesseja on hiottava, osaamisprofiileja ja metodeja kirkastettava ja tehtävä työtä arvostetun aseman ansaitsemiseksi kansainvälisillä hankeareenoilla. Suomalainen ammattikorkeakouluyhteisö voi ottaa myös yhteisiä edistysaskelia sparraten toisiaan ns. Team Finland-hengessä.


Heidi Myyryläinen, projektipäällikkö, KTM, Saimaan ammattikorkeakoulu,

Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen, projektipäällikkö, FM, Karelia-ammattikorkeakoulu,

Ammattikorkeakoulujen työelämälähtöinen TKI-toiminta vahvistuu

Hallitus on asettanut ohjelmassaan tavoitteet, joilla Suomesta luodaan avoin ja kansainvälinen, korkeaan osaamiseen ja kestävään kehitykseen perustuva yhteiskunta. Tavoitteet ovat työllisyyden ja kilpailukyvyn vahvistaminen, osaamisen ja koulutuksen uudistaminen, hyvinvoinnin ja terveyden edistäminen, biotalouden ja puhtaiden ratkaisujen vauhdittaminen sekä toimintatapojen uudistaminen.

Osaamisen ja koulutuksen osalta tavoitteena on luoda Suomesta maa, jossa tekee mieli oppia koko ajan uutta. Hallituskauden keskeisimmät tavoitteet osaamiselle ja koulutukselle liittyvät oppimisympäristöjen modernisointiin sekä digitalisaation ja uuden pedagogiikan mahdollisuuksien hyödyntämiseen oppimisessa. Koulutuksen ja työelämän ulkopuolella olevien nuorten määrän sekä koulutuksen keskeyttäneiden määrän halutaan laskevan. Lisäksi tavoitellaan koulutuksen ja työelämän välisen vuorovaikutuksen lisääntymistä, tutkimus- ja innovaatiotoiminnan laadun ja vaikuttavuuden nousua sekä entistä vahvempaa kansainvälistymistä koulutuksessa ja tutkimuksessa.

Hallitus toteuttaa tavoitteitaan kärkihankkeiden kautta. Tutkimustoiminnassa osaamisen ja koulutuksen kärkihankkeilla pyritään resurssien tehokkaampaan ja vaikuttavampaan hyödyntämiseen. Edelleen tavoitellaan sitä, että kaupallistaminen etenee ja että tutkimuksesta saadaan uutta kasvua Suomeen. Keinoina tavoitteiden saavuttamiseksi nähdään korkeakoulujen ja tutkimuslaitosten työnjaon ja yhteistyön selkeyttäminen sekä osaamisen kokoaminen kilpailukykyisiksi keskittymiksi.

Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö myönsi kaksi vuotta sitten 10 miljoonan euron erillisrahoituksen ammattikorkeakoulujen työelämälähtöiseen TKI-toimintaan. Erillisrahoituksen taustalla oli jo tuolloin osaamisperusteisen kasvun vauhdittaminen. Ammattikorkeakouluilta pyydettiin esityksiä hankkeiksi, joilla vahvistettaisiin ammattikorkeakoulujen edellytyksiä työelämälähtöiseen opetus-, tutkimus- ja kehitystyöhön. Alueellisen vaikuttavuuden vahvistamiseksi hankkeiden tuli olla riittävän laajoja. Myös yhteishankkeisiin kannustettiin.

Ammattikorkeakoulujen työelämälähtöisen TKI-toiminnan lisäpanostuksen tavoitteena on lisätä ammattikorkeakoulujen tutkimus- ja kehitystyön laatua ja vaikuttavuutta. Keskeisinä keinoina on nähty henkilökunnan pätevöityminen, TKI-toiminnan vahvempi kytkentä koulutukseen sekä laajamittainen asiantuntija- ja opiskelijavaihdon kehittäminen ammattikorkeakoulujen, tutkimuslaitosten ja työelämän välille. Näillä keinoilla tavoitellaan vahvempaa tiedon ja osaamisen siirtoa korkeakoulujen ja työelämän välisessä vuorovaikutuksessa.

Erillisrahoituksella on rahoitettu kaikkiaan 17 hanketta, joista kaksi toteutetaan koko ammattikorkeakoulusektorin yhteisinä verkostohankkeina. Kahden vuoden aikana hankkeissa on saatu paljon aikaan; on mm. järjestetty laajamittaista osaajavaihtoa työelämän kanssa, on verkostoiduttu aiempaa vahvemmin kansainvälisesti ja on kytketty YAMK-tutkintoa tiiviimmin TKI-toimintaan. Ammattikorkeakoulujen TKI-osaajavalmennus on jatkumassa ammattikorkeakoulujen yhteisenä toimintana, mikä on erityisen ilahduttavaa pitkäjänteisen kehittämistyön kannalta. On toivottavaa, että muidenkin hankkeiden osalta erillisrahoituksen päättyessä pystytään luomaan toimintatavat tai rakenteet, joilla hyvät käytännöt saadaan osaksi ammattikorkeakoulujen perustoimintaa, koulutusta ja tutkimusta.

Tässä lehdessä julkaistavia hankkeiden raportteja lukiessa on hyvä pohtia seuraavia kysymyksiä:

  • Mitä ammattikorkeakoulujen TKI-toiminnan laatu ja vaikuttavuus ovat?
  • Miten ja millaisin toimin tutkimus- ja innovaatiotoiminnan laatu ja vaikuttavuus saadaan nousuun ammattikorkeakoulujen toimin hallituskauden aikana?
  • Miten ammattikorkeakoulujen TKI-toiminnan hyödynnettävyyttä ja kaupallistamista voidaan tehostaa?
  • Miten erillisrahoitusta saaneet 17 hanketta parantavat TKI-toiminnan laatua ja vaikuttavuutta kansallisesti ja kansainvälisesti?

Kysymykset ovat keskeisiä kunkin ammattikorkeakoulun nyt pohtiessa seuraavan sopimuskauden 2017–2020 strategisia tavoitteita ja toimenpiteitä. Ammattikorkeakoulujen vahvistuva rooli työelämälähtöisessä TKI-toiminnassa näkyy toivottavasti myös strategisessa päätöksenteossa.


Eeva Kaunismaa, opetusneuvos, Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö,

Maarit Palonen, opetusneuvos, Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö,

Cooperation and long term partnership between Karlsruhe, Laurea and Saimaa University of Applied Sciences based on business simulation joint course


Cooperation and partnership between other universities in different countries is encouraged in strategy papers of many universities. Many student and staff mobility programs already exist as well as cooperation in R&D contexts. However, joint courses offered by several universities together and implemented in curricula are not common. This paper focuses on long term cooperation and partnership between Karlsruhe, Laurea and Saimaa universities of applied sciences to offer a joint international business course based on business simulation.

EU-level framework

European commission defines growing internationalization and international mobility of students, researchers and staff as some of the key factors in the communication of an agenda for the modernization of Europe’s higher education systems. One of the main benefit of the internationalization is the dissemination of the ideas and best practices as well as the professional development of the people working on education. Virtual mobility is recognized as one, many times under exploited option. In general, creation of virtual learning platforms and utilization of variety of ICT solutions is seen as an opportunity to take up innovative practices in education, improve the level of learning and enrich the learning experiences. (European commission, 2011)

Another suggested field of improvement for higher education is the recognition of the transversal skills along with the specific professional skills. Transversal skills are understood to be working life skills that are important in many occupations. Examples of this type of competencies are language and cultural skills, teamwork skills or IT skills. The good level of transversal skills is proposed significantly improve the employability of the person, especially in the international sphere.

Simulations as an environment to practice business and transversal skills in an international cooperation

Business simulations can be used as practical learning tools in modern business education. In the business studies context the students can practice their business skills in an as close to realistic situation as it is possible to simulate. The students apply their knowledge on various business areas in running a virtual company via a business simulation game. The aim of the business simulation course is that the students gain comprehensive understanding on how strategic business decisions are made in teams in areas like marketing, pricing, and investments and they can be used in various sectors such as manufacturing industry, international trade and hotel and hospitality industry. Competing against other teams makes the learning experience motivating and real-like.

When business simulations are offered jointly and internationally in cooperation between several universities, the students don’t know each other in the beginning. Yet, they are expected to work in virtual, international, and intercultural teams. This way they learn capabilities needed in their future professional careers. (European commission 2011;, 2015)

Aligning course set-up to suit different curricula

At the starting point of co-operation simulations were part of the business studies curriculum in each of the three universities. However, there was no continuous international cooperation with other universities although some experiments had been carried out with other international partners. Karlsruhe, Laurea and Saimia shared the same vision: Long term partnership and implementation of mixed international teams formed of students from all partnering universities.

When students from different universities participate in the same course together, the course set-up has to be the same for all. Therefore course schedules had to be adjusted to suit all the universities. Learning platform issues and communication with the students were surprisingly difficult to unify as all the universities had different systems and security standards in place. Pedagogical choices required adjustments as well due to different learning objectives, learning activities and assessment practices in each university.

Teacher level experiences

Although simulations were part of the business studies curriculum in each of the three universities, there was no continuous international cooperation. Best practices and new knowledge was created at many levels in international surrounding. Teacher’s experiences about arranging a joint course on a continuous basis have been gathered throughout the planning, realization, assessment and reflection process of each course.

Learning to be flexible in planning a joint course was found to be the most important issue. Teachers from different countries learnt about each other’s pedagogical methods, were able to align learning objectives and activities to be the same for the participants from the three universities, chose a common online learning platform and gained experience from using several digital virtual team-working tools some previously familiar only to one (Adobe Connect, Skype, Google tools, Webex, etc.). This way the jointly offered international course was improved from the original domestic ones.

Many skills were enhanced at the teachers’ level. There was the need to use the language and cultural skills and virtual team work skills. The sharing of knowledge and new ideas was not limited to learning to use the new digital tools. Also the pedagogic knowledge was enhanced through the common creation of learning activities and reflective discussions after each course. The point of these discussions was to think together what we learnt as teachers, what was good about the course and where we had the room for improvement.

Student level learning experiences

Student feedback about their learning was collected immediately after the last assignment of the simulation by an open question in an electronic feedback form “What were your learnings from participating in the simulation?” Out of 31 students 15 participated in giving their feedback.

Student’s answers were analyzed by content analysis technique. Based on that three areas of learning were found in the answers, namely international teamwork, virtual teamwork and decision-making in businesses. In the following, learnings in these three themes is summarized.

International teamwork: Most of the students had worked in international teams during their studies at their own campuses. This experience was different because team members came from different universities in different countries with different back-grounds and previous studies. Students had realized how they can learn from each other and benefit from other team member’s different knowledge base, experience and perspectives on international business.

Virtual teamwork: Although before the simulation the students reported they had experience in virtual tools, working virtually with strangers was more difficult for them than they had expected. Lack of motivation of some team members in some teams was reported to be the reason for poorly functioning teamwork. Teams experiencing poor teamwork also spent less time together online and they sensed that they really didn’t know much about their team members. Students commonly used communication tools for teamwork were Skype and Facebook and other social media tools.

Decision-making in a company: As already concluded, this simulation was about making informed decisions when leading a company based on analysis on the present competitive situation in the simulated environment. The students realized the complexity of management decisions and how different activities and decisions in a company are intertwined. Past results are important and guide decisions for the future and before making final decisions it is important to analyze the possible outcomes. In decision-making it was important to focus on strategic big decisions.

According to the student feedback the joint course with foreign partners was motivating, it enhanced learning and they got a real experience of the challenges they might face while working in international companies and teams.

As one of the students put it: “business simulation games are really beneficial for students who have an attitude for learning. It challenges students and also enhances some abilities needed in a working life such as teamwork and leadership skills. I can also think of other advantages: simulation games shape innovativeness and creativity and increase the ability to make decisions. Students will learn to set goals and become more determined to achieve these goals. They also increase risk awareness, and help understand market rules.


Based on these learnings and experiences it is suggested that when creating a joint course with international partners a systematic way to approach the planning is needed. In this case Bloom’s taxonomy was found to be a good model to guide thinking towards a jointly accepted set of learning objectives, contents and learning tasks and activities.

The implementation of joint simulation enhanced the transversal skills such as language and cultural skills, teamwork skills or digital and social media skills both on teacher and student level. Additionally, teachers have been able to develop their pedagogical skills in an international setting throughout the courses.

Learning objectives were well reached when using jointly arranged simulation. To support students’ motivation and belonging to the team it is proposed that learning activities are designed to increase team members’ knowledge about each other. Once team members know each other, they can better trust each other and that way build mutual commitment to do their best for the benefit of themselves and each other.

The next experiment in this co-operation is to arrange a face to face week for the students before the actual game rounds. The purpose is to help the students to get to know each other before starting the virtual teamwork. The students from all three universities kick off the next joint course at Laurea Tikkurila campus in the end of October 2015. In the medium term the intention is to expand the partner network. Some discussions with potential universities have been held already.


Ville Lehto, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc., Saimaa University of Applied Sciences,

Eija Lipasti, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc., Laurea University of Applied Sciences,

Manfred R. Schorb, Professor, Dr., Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences,

Vladimira Schulz, Academic Assistant, MBA, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences,

Jukka Sirkiä, Senior Lecturer, M.Sc., Saimaa University of Applied Sciences,

European Commission 2011. Communication from the commission to the European parliament, the council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions. COM(2011) 567. Brussels 20.9.2011, accessed 19.8.2015

Brazilian VET teachers´ strategies to transfer their learning in a Finnish-Brazilian teacher education programme


The VET Teachers for the Future® – Professional Development Certificate is a pilot teacher development programme for vocational and higher education teachers (VET) designed to meet the strategic goals of the Ministry of Education in Brazil and the needs of Brazilian Federal Institutes. The tacit targets of the programme are ambitious – the participants are expected to learn a considerable personal lesson, build professional networks, transfer pedagogical strategies and implement them in Brazil in their learning and working environments. On the other hand, HAMK has set the strategic targets to enlarge educational cooperation with Brazil already in the year 2000 and has advanced this with several measures, step-by-step. One of the steps is the teacher education and combined research process described in this article.

The programme is research-based and this article is part of its development process. For the coordinator, Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), it is important to conduct research on the programme. Based on that, we can carefully meet the learning needs of the participants as well as the strategic aims of the Brazilian partners and stakeholders. The data is based on interviews carried out with the two study groups in HAMK. In this article, the researchers´ interest is on developing the programmme´s ability to facilitate the intended educational and strategic development in the students´ home institutions in Brazil.

According to Sahlberg (2011), the Finnish educational success depends on several factors, one of them being a high level of teacher competences and strong teacher professionalism. There are also several other reasons and success rationales based on the level of Finnish society and culture. However, we lack the scientific knowledge of how to transfer the successful models and learning communities into other contexts (Kurtti, 2012). This is the careful analysis of the context and means of transfer are suggested as future research challenges.

Successful educational change includes a strategy process. According to Mantere (2003), people position themselves as either champions, citizens or cynics in the strategy process and the balanced share of different position holders defines the success of strategy in a community. A certain amount of champions is definitely needed with citizens to implement and cynics to give the necessary criticism for the strategy process.

Context and methodology

The program is coordinated by HAMK and contributed to by its partners Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) and HAAGA-HELIA. The pilot programme was conducted over nine months, five months in Finland and four months in the Federal Institutes in Brazil using digital learning environments and giving regular support and guidance from Finland. The scope of the programme is 30 ECTS.

The first pilot group consisted of 27 participants in 2014–2015, and 30 in the second and still ongoing cohort in 2015–2016. The contents of the programme were formulated to train and prepare the teachers to design a competence-based curriculum with the emphasis on active learning, and skills to collaborate with the region, business and industries. The participants were divided into two study groups, in HAMK and TAMK Universities of Applied Sciences.

The feedback has been actively collected from the students to acquire better customer insight and understanding, and to further design the program for future needs. For example, several other individual and group interviews were made and videoed and both qualitative and quantitative surveys were presented to the participants.

In this article, we concentrate on the participants´ strategies and intentions to spread their learning experiences in their learning and working environments, just at that critical moment when the Finnish section of the programme had ended. There were 14 students in the first pilot group and 16 in the second, ongoing course. Altogether, 29 interviews (one declined) were videotaped, transcribed and analysed with a qualitative approach using qualitative data analysis software N-Vivo8 (Richards & Richards, 1995). The interviews were narrative-based (Polkinghorne, 1995; Czarniawska, 1998) and the interviewer took advantage of his well documented in-depth knowledge and available material based on teaching and following the interviewed participants along the programme. Thus he could grasp the moment.

Figure 1. Interviewing VET Teachers for the Future® -programme’s students’ experiences and future plans. (Photo: Brian Joyce)


The primary way to enhance strategic development was said to be collaboration with peers, both the participants of the programme as well as the other active peers in their home Federal institutions.

” we are kind of dynamic team so I really believe that after I start to spread this experience with our colleagues we are do a kind of revolution, we are start to implement a lot of new ways to teach and get better results then we have done until now. So. I really believe that they are, they will be my, on my side when I start to run this kind of new ways.”

Their own managers were regarded as an important audience to hear about newly learned lessons in Finland. Their attitude and support were regarded as critical.

The participants positioned themselves on two levels. Most of the participants positioned themselves as strategic actors, champions using the definition of Mantere (2003). The champions were planning to use concrete techniques like workshops, developing learning environments and engaging learning projects, using communication tools like media and storytelling. Some saw themselves at their best in the classroom using their new competences, even allowing the students to spread the good word of mouth and acting as citizens (Mantere, 2003) in the strategy process of pedagogical change. All intended to use the pedagogical competences learned although some of the participants had originally been expecting more emphasis on research in the own area of expertise than pedagogical content.

The participants were aware of the slow pace of pedagogical change and realized that the basic requirement was putting trust in its possibility; having faith:

” I think I would like to let them know that it’s possible to do new things, meaningful and not so difficult things in education…”

What was new to our research team was the importance of understanding emotions and their importance in enhancing strategic, pedagogical change. Both tears and joy were present in the interviews. Just as the Finnish have a proverb – ”If you learn without joy, you will forget without sorrow”. The Brazilians say:

”…it’s not because we only like parties, it’s because our behaviour and our feelings are linked with…”


The VET teachers for the Future -programme® can be described as a growth environment of new teacher identities and roles. During the five months in Finland, the narratives of participants can be described simply by the development from an individual teacher participant in the initial cultural shock in Finland towards a group of networked, collaborative strategic champions returning enthusiastically to Brazil. The participants positioned themselves as actors at the level of peers, in their own department and institution and even the Federal Institutions network, not only in their own classroom.

The practical conclusion for the programme development can also be drawn – both the participant selection as well as the programme have succeeded well in reaching the strategic targets. To reach its full potential, the process needs to continue with support both during the on-the-job learning period back in the Brazilian reality and after the programme ends. Understanding the different strategic roles adopted by participants can help their return.

Figure 2. VET Teachers for the Future® -programme’s students and teachers closing Finnish study section in seminar 15.6. 2015 at Tampere. The Brazilian section is about the start.  (Photo: Giselda Costa)


Seija Mahlamäki-Kultanen, Director, Ph.D., Häme University of Applied Sciences,

Brian Joyce, Senior Lecturer, M.A., Häme University of Applied Sciences,

Essi Ryymin, Principal Lecturer, Ph.D., Häme University of Applied Sciences,

Maaret Viskari, Manager, Global Education, M.A., Häme University of Applied Sciences,

Lasse Heikkilä, Research Assistant, Häme University of Applied Sciences,

Czarniawska, B. 1998. A narrative approach to organization studies. Sage Publications Qualitative Research Methods Series 43.

Kurtti, J. 2012. Hiljainen tieto ja työssä oppiminen. Edellytysten luominen hiljaisen tiedon hyödyntämiselle röntgenhoitajien työyhteisössä. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1722. Tampereen yliopisto.

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Sahlberg, P. 2011. The professsional educator. Lessons from Finland. American Educator. Summer 2011, 34–38.

Developing Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in an International Project


Today, it no longer makes sense to learn the same things twice. Therefore recognition of prior learning (RPL) is beneficial. It will help individuals to assess their skills, to facilitate the continuation of studies and provide with information on learning-promotion. The identification and validation of prior learning makes room for other studies and, ultimately, the students learn more. This in turn improves the quality and the employment of graduates and employers get people to work as quickly as possible. Furthermore, universities get motivated students and a well-functioning RPL enhances the education system.

There are lots of students who have earlier education and thus could gain from the RPL evaluation. RPL procedures have started well at Finnish universities of applied sciences, but there is not a unified way for validation of prior learning and the evaluation can be context-sensitive. Educators, students or employers do not always have the same understanding about the RPL concepts and thereby it may seem difficult or its benefits questionable. At Finnish universities there is a need to clarify RPL, in which the fluency and equity of the process are confirmed. It is also necessary to diversify the recognition methods.

Savonia University of Applied Sciences (SUAS) participates in an international Recognition of Prior Learning (RELATE) project, the participants of which are three universities and three vocational colleges in Germany, Estonia and Finland. The project aims to develop the RPL process and practices. This article describes SUAS intensification of both the vocational college and international co-operation of developing RPL practices.

International co-operation fostering RPL customs

Universities have the autonomy and are responsible for their degrees and also the quality of the accreditation of prior learning. Students and teachers have to know the methods and criteria of the RPL. It is also important to counsel students to describe their competence (Airola 2012, 107) to help them creating personal learning pathways (Muhonen 2012, 93–94, 95). The process also requires time and willingness for counselling (Venhovaara 2012, 63–64).

The RPL process is technically logical, but in practice it can cause confusion in all European countries. Thus it is effective to develop RPL by both national and international co-operation. The project aim of RELATE is to promote permeability into higher education programs within three European countries, Germany, Estonia and Finland, and to create a model of agreement between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education (HE) institution for simplified RPL (Figure 1).

Figure 1. RELATE project step by step.

Universities of applied sciences in Finland have a strategy partnership with each other. It is also necessary to have strategy partnership with vocational education and training institutions. In the project SUAS and Savo Vocational College (SAKKY) are working as a national pair with international partners from Germany and Estonia to foster practical co-operation and strategy partnership in RPL development. The main task in the project of SUAS and SAKKY is to develop new methods for RPL in health care education for practical nurses to registered nurse or paramedic education. The aim is also to adapt the process model for co-operation between VET and HE institutions and get ideas for the local co-operation in curricula development.

RELATE project proceeding in Finland

The RELATE project proceeded from gathering the best practices of student counselling, collection of data from students’ RPL experiences, comparing VET and He education and pilot testing practical RPL methods.

At first the RELATE project collected data about the national methods and legislation of RPL. Also the used practices of student counselling and RPL instructions were described. It was found that the RPL as a process is very similar in all the participating organizations. There is a common need to clarify the RPL process and foster more the understanding, that competence, not studying, as the base for the recognition. Diversities were found in the counselling process and the methods used in recognition. Estonia and Finland have a systematic counselling at the beginning of the university studies and the electronic student interface for initiating the RPL process. In Germany the portfolio is well-developed and widely used as a method for applying for RPL.

The second phase of the project was to get the students´ viewpoint of the RPL. Twenty university students were interviewed in Germany, Estonia and Finland either in individual or group focused sessions. The participants were both women and men and their age varied from 20 to 50 years. The results of students´ experiences about their RPL processes were grouped in three themes (Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Students´ experiences about RPL process.

Given guidance during the RPL process

The orientation course for studies was a starting point for the RPL. Suitable information was also found on the university internet and student counselling net system. The tutoring teachers ensured that the students knew the curriculum of their study program by having both individual and group counselling. Often the helper was also the teacher of the particular course, counsellor or IT-teacher. From fellow students, who had applied for RPL, could give good tips as well.

The methods used in recognizing the prior competence

Students found out that competence acquired before the degree studies could be credited as a part of the new studies from prior work experience or by the credit transfer of the earlier studies. The most common way was to apply for recognition of the practice periods and foreign languages.
Recognition was either applied by the e-learning program or by discussion with a tutoring teacher. The time spent in the process depended on how well the student focused on the task. Sometimes it was difficult for a student to understand that the competence was not a list of skills or tasks they mastered.

The most common method for RPL was a written description. Students had verified their competences by describing in-debt customer case-situations, reflected on the work they had done or wrote self-assessment. In any of the participating organizations simulations or other practical tests were not used in RPL.

The needed development in the RPL as a learning process

Mainly the RPL had given plenty of advantages e.g. possibility to work and earn money, to take time with family, to shorten studies by taking extra courses and to concentrate on personally challenging study areas. However, because of the difficult terminology, it took some time to understand the RPL as a practical tool for planning studies. Students suggested that teachers had uniform requirements and equal instructions for justifications of RPL instead of coincidence. There was a need for personal help with the documents, more help for arranging opportunities to do the studies faster and also different options for applying RPL; simulation, skills demonstration, possibility to show competence at the beginning of the placement period.

Third task for Finnish participants was to make a comparison between VET and HE health care education and find out the common competences. The aim was to create practices/methods that help the student know-how to become more effectively integrated into the new degree. For a closer inspection and piloting were selected two 5 credit-first-semester-nursing-education courses. Also the VET/HE educational co-operation were inspected step by step (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Process of co-operation between VET and HE in Finland.

For VET graduates, who started studies in SUAS nurse or paramedic programs, it was developed practical pilot tests for RPL. Skill labs, simulations and case studies were used as test methods. Successful completion of the competence test entitled to receive a part of the course/ the whole course accredited.

How the project experiences are put into strategy

The RELATE project fostered the participants’ understanding about the importance of the RPL process from the strategical viewpoint. The benefits of RPL, with the study time shortening and enhancing the motivation of the student, have both humane and financial implications for universities of applied sciences strategic outcomes and international partnerships. Therefore this development is needed to continue both at the international and national level.

Based on the results of the RELATE project, the RPL guidelines in SUAS are already clarified, suggestions for counselling system in HE are planned and VET and HE co-operation in RPL has started. The criteria of good RPL practices have also been identified in Scotland and similarly found, that students should have enough information of the RPL process and guidance in the reflection process. Staff should also have clear guidelines of the RPL and procedures of monitoring the process. (Shapira 2012, 48.)

The international project co-operation of VET and HE organization produced strategical knowledge about planning fluent continuum of studies. It also widened understanding about the produced competencies in VET and HE institutions and thus help participants better to develop curriculums in co-operation. Practically it produced new methods for RPL and at this moment developing simulation competence tests is one common national and international development target. Supporting the co-operation of VET and HE institutions e.g. by this way, it will become more formal and standardized and thus widens students possibilities for RPL. Also other co-operative ways e.g. open access summer and multiprofessional studies and co-operation in working life should be developed. The results such as good practices for co-operation of HE and VET institutions and developing new competence test methods fostered overall the strategy partnership of project partners.


Marja Silén-Lipponen, Senior lecturer, PhD, Savonia University of Applied Sciences,

Annikki Jauhiainen, Principal lecturer, PhD, Savonia University of Applied Sciences,

Airola, A. 2012. Kokemuksia osaamisen tunnustamisesta Pohjois-Karjalan ammattikorkeakoulussa. Teoksessa Airola, A. & Hirvonen, H. (toim.) Osaaminen näkyväksi. Kokemuksia osaamisen tunnistamisesta Itä-Suomen korkeakouluissa. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland. General Series No 8, 130–138.

Muhonen, P. 2012. Osaamisen arvioinnin hyviä käytänteitä Pohjois-Karjalan ammattikorkea-koulussa. Teoksessa Airola, A. & Hirvonen, H. (toim.) Osaaminen näkyväksi. Kokemuksia osaamisen tunnistamisesta Itä-Suomen korkeakouluissa. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland. General Series No 8, 93–100.

Relate Project. Retrieved June 25, 2015,

Shapira, M. 2012. Recognition of Prior Learning in Scotland. Report for project ”University Recognition of Prior Learning Centres – Bridging Higher Education with Vocational Education and Training” Employment Research Institute, Edinburg Napier University. Retrieved July 22, 2015,

Venhovaara, P. 2012. Savonian AHOT-toimintamalli osana opiskelijan ohjauksen kokonaisuutta. Teoksessa Airola, A. & Hirvonen, H. (toim.) Osaaminen näkyväksi. Kokemuksia osaamisen tunnistamisesta Itä-Suomen korkeakouluissa. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland. General Series No 8, 57–72.

Business with impact through strategic co-operation and research work in Namibia – SAMK and Polytechnic of Namibia heading for urban development in Africa

MOU between SAMK and Polytechnic of Namibia

Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) has entered into a co-operation agreement with Polytechnic of Namibia (PON) on issues relating to land and sea since 2012. The co-operation has been especially on R/V Mirabilis and maritime education (Keinänen-Toivola et al. 2014). The three-year project “Improving the maritime education in Namibia 2013–2015 (MARIBIA)” is financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. MARIBIA project is a partnership between Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) the Polytechnic of Namibia and Namibia Maritime and Fisheries Institute (NAMFI) on maritime education in Namibia.

This co-operation was taken to the next level in May 2015 in Rauma, when SAMK and Polytechnic of Namibia signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) (Fig. 1). Prof. Tjama Tjivikua, Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia and Associate Professor Samuel John Dean of School of Engineering also visited SAMK’s Faculties both in Rauma and Pori. PON is planning to establish centers of excellence similar to those of SAMK’s centers of excellences, such as on water and solar energy (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Managing Director Juha Kämäri and President of SAMK and Prof. Tjama Tjivikua, Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia signed the memorandum of understanding in Rauma, Finland in May 2015. Ambassador of Namibia to Finland, H.E. Bonny Haufiku and Ambassador of Finland to Namibia, H.E. Anne Saloranta were witnessing the occasion. (Photo: Minna Keinänen-Toivola)
Figure 2. Chief Project Manager Martti Latva presenting the world widely unique water system of the Sytytin Technology Center in Rauma, Finland to Prof. Tjama Tjivikua, Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia , Associate Professor and Dean of School of Engineering Samuel John and Meri-Maija Marva from SAMK. (Photo: Heikki Koivisto)

PON is a Higher Education Institution established by an Act of Parliament (Act No. 33 of 1994) in Namibia and commenced operations in 1995. The Polytechnic was established to offer career oriented programmes to meet the scarce skills challenging the country. The institution is dynamic and fast growing with a strong focus on science, engineering, technology and mathematics. About 55% of the 13000 students are female. The Polytechnic emphasizes on innovation and strives to improve the living conditions of people through the pursuit of applied and problem-solving research. PON is enrolled in six Schools: School of computing and informatics, School of engineering, School of human sciences, School of natural resources and spatial sciences and School of business sciences.

The Polytechnic is also home to several centres of excellence and institutes, from which participants are drawn for the NAMURBAN project. These are the Namibian-German centre for logistic, centre for open and life-long learning, centre for enterprise development, Namibian business innovation institute and the Namibia energy institute. There is also the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business. In December 2012, the Cabinet of the Republic of Namibia approved the long-standing request for the Polytechnic to transform into the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Hence, the institution is in a change process which will be finalized in 2015.

NAMURBAN – Urban Resource Efficiency in Developing Countries -pilot study of Walvis Bay, Namibia

SAMK and PON have commenced a research project titled NAMURBAN, which stands for Namibia Urban (Fig. 3). NAMURBAN widens the co-operation between SAMK and PON from education to research and development work. The research is aimed at developing a framework for urban resource efficiency utilization in developing countries using Namibia as a pilot country. NAMURBAN is part of Tekes and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland’s BEAM – Business with Impact -programme for innovations meeting the needs of developing countries and providing Finnish companies with new business opportunities in the growing markets of such countries. The innovations in question can involve technology, service, business or social innovations (Tekes, 2015). A very important part of the NAMURBAN research is the part funding from nine Finnish companies partly, and by implication also actively participating in the research.

Figure 3. NAMURBAN project application meeting at the Polytechnic of Namibia in February 2015. From left going clockwise: Bas Rijnen, Samuel John, Grafton Whyte, Zivayi Chiguvare, Angelica Bergmann and Minna Keinänen-Toivola. (Photo: Minna Keinänen-Toivola)

The specific solutions of NAMURBAN are based on the analysis of the current situation and needs for urban technology and systems in Namibia (Fig. 4 and 5). Namibia’s vision 2030 states that by 2030, Namibia will be a prosperous and industrialized country, developed by its human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability. Namibia’s National Development plan (NDP4) is increased income equality, employment creation, and high and sustained economic growth. The economic priority areas are logistics, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture. This research will be the first to study and develop a sustainable technological concept on urban environments in developing counties using a pilot sites coastal city Walvis Bay in Namibia.

In Namibia, the urban development balance is very fragile as the population is growing at the rate of 2.5 % per year, and in some cities even 4 % per year. Namibia has a peculiar challenge, in terms of urban development due to informal settlements, extreme water scarcity, and dependency on imported energy combined with one of the world’s highly skewed income distribution situation. The social challenges are therefore unequal income distributions, huge unemployment of young people, and low education level, and lack of sufficient skilled people in most sector of the economy. There is an existing and growing population of under-educated young people, who enter the job-market without skills, resulting in the high unemployment rate of over 30%.

Figure 4. Etosha National Park in Northern Namibia is one of the few places in Namibia with several fresh groundwater ponds. (Photo: Minna Keinänen-Toivola)
Figure 5. In Namibia and many other African countries solar energy has huge potential, as a renewable energy source. (Photo: Minna Keinänen-Toivola)

Demand for urban solutions in Africa

In the next ten years, population in Africa is expected to grow by 25% and it is forecasted that 70% of the growing population will be living in slums mushrooming around the megacities. Global megatrends (urbanization, megacities, slumming, clean water, CO2 free energy production, digitalization and food production) are realities in Africa already. At the moment the ongoing infrastructure projects (housing, traffic, energy, water) corresponds to 378 billion USD markets in the sub-Saharan area and 1190 billion USD market in the whole continent. By the year 2020 the number of mobile connections is expected to grow near market saturation point and the number of internet connections will increase 60% from the 2010 level. Furthermore, the discretionary income will grow over 50% compared to present level, creating a 1.4 billion USD mega consumption market.

Big scale urbanization and hugely growing markets require extensive investments to infrastructure (including ICT- and mobile), water, energy, and food production processes also in the future. In several developing countries, lack of pure water and sanitation systems and self-sufficient energy production, are barriers for further development. For example, in Namibia 60% of the consumed energy is imported from outside the country.

Market growth happening in sub-Saharan Africa creates vast possibilities for the Finnish companies for long term business development and expansion (Fig. 6). Finland is a country with extreme conditions and long distances, and Finnish companies have strong knowhow and competence in those areas, which create largest challenges in Africa’s development and growth, namely affordable and energy efficient construction, energy production and water processes as well as ICT-solution development. Resource efficiency in urban development is the key for success for economic and social development while ensuring the minimization of the negative effects to the environment.

Figure 6. Namibia provides a short cut to business with impact in Sub-Saharan markets. (Photo: Minna Keinänen-Toivola)


Dr. Minna Keinänen-Toivola, Project Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences,

Dr. Samuel John, Associate Professor, Dean of School of Engineering, Polytechnic of Namibia,

Dr. Anna Matros-Goreses, Director of the Project Services Centre, Polytechnic of Namibia,

Captain Heikki Koivisto, Project Manager, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences,

Dr. Suvi Karirinne, Team leader, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences,

Keinänen-Toivola, M., Koivisto, H., Marva, M.-M. & Latva M. 2014. SAMK having co-operation on land and sea in Namibia. AMK-lehti // Journal of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, No 3 (2014). online 17.9.2015).

Tekes 2015.–business-with-impact/ (available online 17.9.2015).

Multicultural competence in higher education and labor market – Improving foreign student’s guidance in practical placements

Problem: How to promote European student mobility for practical placements?

Majority of higher education (HE) students in the field of education, rehabilitation, social and health care do their exchange mobility in a practical setting. It is indicated that multicultural competence of the working life mentors and teachers is inadequate and the quality of foreign students’ guidance varies extensively. Traditionally internationalization has not been developed alongside with the other working life competences. This may lead to the challenges facing the quality of guidance in practical placements. (Edgecombe et al. 2013.)

However, the guidance skills of mentors play a major role in the success of the learning experience (Dale et al. 2013). Guidance given by mentors during practice has a significant effect on the integration of foreign students into local working life and community. This can lead to willingness to stay and work in the country of study after graduation. (Mattila et al. 2010; Pitkäjärvi et al. 2012). Furthermore, the development of the pedagogy in placements has not been linked to the curriculum development. Therefore, mutual trust and effective communication between the HE and working life institutions should be strengthened by bringing the teachers and mentors together to improve their multicultural competence. Being elementary parts of social capital, mutual trust and communication should be built in a structured manner between the parties.

One of the responses to the needs described is the EU funded project “SOULBUS – Building Social Capital by Improving Multicultural Competence in Higher Education and Labour Market”) 2014–2016 implemented in cooperation with five EU countries: Finland, Netherlands, Estonia, Slovenia and Croatia. Overall 13 partners participated in the Soulbus project. Six of them being HE institutions and the other six working life partners such as hospitals and NGOs. The third country partner is the School of Social Work, San José State University, USA. The consortium was put together initially by a coordinator who looked for higher education institutions which have a strong relationship with their labour market partners, and also need to improve multicultural skills of mentors and teachers. Another way of selecting suitable partners for the consortium was to ensure that a partner organization has a strong emphasis on internationalization, and has a strategic plan incorporating vision, mission and goals of how to increase a number of exchange students particularly in practical placements. Some partners had have cooperation with mutual projects and curriculum activities with each other’s but most of the partners were unknown to each other.

Project’s outcomes are divided into the three parts: 1) to improve teachers’ and mentors’ multicultural competence to increase the volume of placements available to foreign students and to harmonize the quality of placement. The objective is achieved by offering the target group possibility to attend the Soulbus E-Coach program which is designed and piloted in the project, 2) to improve attractiveness and accessibility of the practical placements for the foreign exchange and degree students as a part of the higher education institutions’ curricular activities, and 3) to support systematic, long-term collaboration between higher education institutions and working life partners.

Considering building social capital between the HE institutions and working life partners, two practices and main outcomes developed in the Soulbus project, are presented as follows:

PRACTICE 1: More experienced partner-countries share their expertise with less experienced ones

The Netherlands and Finland have been members of Erasmus programme for a long time and both countries run a number of English-taught degree programmes in the fields of education, rehabilitation, social and health care. Additionally, both countries have described the internationalization competence, and internationalization and practical training abroad has been part of the curricula for years. Slovenia, Estonia and Croatia have, on the other hand, only a few foreign exchange students annually and thus, not enough practical placements are available for the foreign students. However, they are strongly motivated to internationalize their curricula, set up English-taught degree programmes and most of all, offer practical placements with good quality of guidance. From the beginning of the project it was aimed that the less experienced partners learn from the more experienced ones when hosting foreign students and carrying out their guidance. This promotes transference and dissemination of knowledge and skills and enhances creativity and innovations between partner organizations. The consortium started with an analysis of the present situation of guidance and pedagogical practices of foreign students in each partner country. Each partner country conducted a focus group interview where data was collected from the students’, teachers’’ and mentors’ perspectives. As a result, a Case Study Repository, is now available for all the participants to be shared and learned from.

Secondly, as an experienced partner Saxion UAS in the Netherlands planned and piloted the Soulbus-e-Coach online programme to enhance multicultural competence. The programme will be beneficial for the practice placement mentors in guiding foreign students and support teachers when guiding incoming and outgoing students. An online programme it is profitable for all mentors and teachers working in the European HE Area.

PRACTICE 1: Strengthening trust and increasing mutual understanding between mentors and teachers

The Soulbus consortium expected that every HE institution and working life partner work mutually to improve their multicultural competence and guidance practices. The aim was that the partners shared experiences and expertise of multiculturalism and pedagogy. Multicultural approach means enhancing the quality of guidance and increasing the volume of placements. To achieve this goal, the partner pairs have had continuous co-operation from the beginning of the project e.g. by organizing the focus groups together. All the HE partners and their counterpart from the working life have participated in numerous face-to-face seminars during the project. Furthermore, HE institutions have continuously been in touch with their working life partner to ensure their active role and to consider their specific needs to develop trust and share the learning processes.

To strengthen trust and increasing mutual understanding in the guidance of foreign student, mentors and teachers of the Soulbus E-Coach program worked through two pilot phases.  This will help to implement the European Qualifications Framework for practical placements in order to enhance competence-based training in the education, rehabilitation and social & health care sectors. One task of the programme was to produce and pilot tailored actions in each partner country and to use peer-learning in sharing pilot experiences. The pilots aim at exploiting innovations and creative solutions which can be incorporated into the national curricular activities. Every partner pair planned and performed national actions concerning their specific needs of foreign student’s guidance in practical placement. National actions were peer-reviewed in order to share good practices, learn from each other and, above all, utilize counterpart’s experience and expertise in mutual challenges.

Lessons learned: Building social capital in international partnership

The Soulbus project is currently at the end and it is time to summarize the lessons learned:

  • It is evident that active collaboration between the mentors and teachers develops attitudes and practices. Based on our experience, one of the best ways to reduce prejudice is when professionals work together to promote genuine appreciation of diversity. During the collaboration the whole consortium has learned different working styles, pedagogical views and practices of practical training. This will result foreign students receiving better guidance and the increased volume of placements.
  • Practical methods for guidance such as ways to overcome language barriers, have been shared among partners. Participants have also exchanged experiences of useful tools, practices and methods in guidance. These can be implemented and disseminated within the universities and work places.
  • Close collaboration creates innovative ways to link curricular development to practical placements practices following the National Qualification Framework. As a result of the project, a cooperation agreement was made between two partner high education institutions. This means that students, teachers and other staff members have a possibility to take part in the exchange programmes of the institutions.
  • Working life partners are not so familiar with the Bologna Process and the aims of the European HE Area. This may cause challenges in the collaboration. To overcome these challenges, the project has encouraged open and constructive communication between partner pairs. This has turned out to be an important way to communicate views and working methods. One result of the project was that the working life partners from non-governmental organizations (NGO) clearly benefited from a close collaboration between each other’s, and now they are searching for possibilities of extending the cooperation in the field of guidance of foreign students.
  • Working together in Soulbus project has built knowledge, trust and willingness to co-operate with the proven consortium and new project initiatives in the future as well.

The Soulbus project has offered a fruitful arena for partners to develop their knowledge and skills on multicultural competence in relation to foreign students’ practical training. Overall, this cooperation has served as valuable first steps towards creating a strong learning community. The aim of the consortium is to continue collaboration between partners, to develop international mobility HE and related multicultural competence.


Hanna Hopia, Principal lecturer, PhD, JAMK University of Applied Sciences,

Johanna Tarvainen, International Relations Coordinator, M.Soc. Services, Lahti University of Applied Sciences,

Tuula Hyppönen, Senior lecturer, MSSc., Lahti University of Applied Sciences,

Sanna Sihvonen, Principal lecturer, PhD, JAMK University of Applied Sciences,

Dale, B., Leland, A. & Dale, J. G. 2013. What factors facilitate good learning experiences in clinical studies in nursing: Bachelor students’ perceptions. International Scholarly Research Notices, volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 628679. doi:

Edgecombe, K., Jennings, M. & Bowden, M. 2013. International nursing students and what impacts their clinical learning: literature review. Nurse Education Today, 33(2), 138–142. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2012.07.015.

Mattila, L-R., Pitkäjärvi, M. & Eriksson, E. 2010. International student nurses’ experiences of clinical practice in the Finnish health care system. Nurse Education in Practice 3, 153–157. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2009.05.009.

Pitkäjärvi, M., Eriksson, E., Kekki, P. & Pitkälä, K. 2012. Culturally diverse nursing students in Finland: Some experiences. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship 1, 1–16. doi: 10.1515/1548-923X.2356.

Soulbus project’s website. (23.8.2015).

Finnish-Chinese cooperation development – International cooperation development project


Laurea UAS began a two-year CIMO project in January 2015. The purpose of the project is to improve strategic partnership activities and, by means of an international development project, the cooperation between universities in Finland and China.

Increasing cooperation activities in the global market environment not only benefits organisations that provide higher education but also aims at sharing knowledge and education in a more active manner. The goal is to improve cooperation between Finnish and Chinese companies and organisations in the future and to eliminate barriers that prevent international cooperation and partnerships between micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The project time line is divided into four parts over a two-year period. In Finland, Laurea’s Uusimaa units P2P in Hyvinkää and Business Lab in Lohja serve as the coordinating bodies. Thus, they are responsible for project funding and matters related to operational planning. In accordance with the partnership activities, Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) is the project partner for cooperation schools in Finland and China.

The participation of project partner institutions operating in China – Xiamen University Software School, Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University and Beijing Technology and Business University – adds an international dimension to the project. There has not been similar cooperation between the Finnish and Chinese schools before this project. Thus we are hoping to accomplish lasting relationships between the schools and make it easier for companies to cooperate.

The universities operating in China and universities of applied sciences in Finland each have their own contact with which project parts are implemented and divided into ”action points” for each period. Business Lab and P2P are in contact with the international coordinator responsible for Xiamen University Software School and with student, working together on actions that are specified for each period of the project and maintaining contact in weekly virtual meetings. HAMK is a project partner with Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University and Beijing Technology and Business University, which operate in China. This paper concentrates in the cooperation between Laurea UAS and Xiamen University Software School.

Partnership activities in this project culminate in regional, inter-organisational and international differences between the educational lines and students. Thus, the students, organisations and the actual project all benefit from international cooperation and the viewpoints of experts and students from several different fields. Partnership activities and international cooperation makes it possible to utilise elements from China and Finland and their own unique market characteristics in project implementation and planning.

The beginning of the project

For Laurea, the first phase in the project, in January 2015 involved creating a foundation and strategy process for the different phases of the project. During this phase, Finnish students would travel to China and present the project targets and a description of the Finnish market situation. However, the most important aim of the trip was to establish a strong foundation for the strategy process. At the same time, the practical arrangements concerning communication and measures were agreed. The first major part of the project was then to build the cooperation process and develop the communication between students and faculty in these higher education institutions.

The P2P project team began its part of the project by creating a comprehensive analysis of the Finnish market. The purpose was to survey how factors affecting the market environment impact on market functioning, and to provide the project team operating in China with information about the operation and current state of the Finnish market.

The Business Lab project team started to develop a module that would ease international cooperation between Finnish and Chinese micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the future. This team began its work by collecting background information on the problems encountered by Finnish small and micro enterprises when cooperating with Chinese companies and organisations. The background research was completed in the form of benchmarking and qualitative interviews.

The background research made it possible to identify the biggest problem areas with regard to launching international cooperation. Many small companies cannot hire a consultant to handle or assist with starting international cooperation or trade relations. There is demand for products ordered from China, but the challenges to establishing trade relations can be huge for small and medium-sized or micro enterprises. The second challenge to launching cooperation between Chinese and Finnish companies is language and differences in virtual communications channels.

Trip to Xiamen, China

In March 2015, a project team of students and teachers from Laurea made a visit to Xiamen in China. During this trip, we learned more about our cooperation institute Xiamen University Software School and local culture. At Xiamen University, we met a group of Chinese students who will be involved in the project for the next two years. The P2P project team presented its analysis and showed the Chinese students how to produce a similar analysis for China. The analysis lays a foundation for the project by increasing understanding of the other culture and thus facilitating cooperation. The Business Lab project team presented a raw version of a module that it developed. At this stage of the project, we were aware of the challenges on the Finnish side, and during the trip we addressed the challenges that Chinese companies encounter when working with Finnish companies. The aim was to survey the challenges that Chinese companies face when initiating cooperation, and to find solutions to the challenges that Finnish companies have encountered.

Figure 1. Visit to Xiamen University Software School in March 2015 (Laurea’s students and staff together with Xiamen University students and staff)

After returning to Finland, the teams continued to work on their own, meeting weekly in virtual format. The weekly meetings ensured that everyone moved in the same direction in terms of project implementation.

Lessons learned in this project

Working on an international project differs from project work with a Finnish team. In Finland, we are accustomed to a disciplined work style and are relatively reserved in terms of body language. The Chinese body language, customs and etiquette are very different than that of Finns. Another challenge was how to communicate and hold project meetings when the project team is separated by a few time zones and no one is operating in their native language.

In addition, cultural differences and technology factors have an impact on project work. For example, women in China have a very different position in the university world than their counterparts in Finland. Behavioural etiquette in lectures and meetings also differs significantly from prevailing practices in western countries. Community spirit in China is on a completely different level than in, for example, in Finland. People in China almost always consider their own job or educational institute to be the best in the field, which means that anyone seeking neutral feedback or a recommendation should begin by interviewing people from outside the organisation.

Image and reputation have great importance in China. This affects negotiations and brainstorming sessions held with the Chinese. During the spring, we learned that critical arguments or development proposals should be presented in a roundabout manner as questions rather than direct comments. This avoids situations in which a Chinese student is embarrassed by being the target of ”criticism”. The opportunity to work in an international team also provided valuable knowledge for the world of work. If we get the chance to work in a multicultural team later in our careers, we will be better prepared to handle the potential challenges.

Project work cannot be compared to traditional campus studies, because the learning that occurs in projects is completely different from lecture-style learning. The experiences are much more beneficial than theoretical studies. Project work has become more prevalent at workplaces, which makes participation in such a large project very useful. Studying in projects has developed our skills in social interaction, the English language and project work. Applying knowledge in practice and implementing a project brings a practical aspect to learning and teaches people how to deal with problems and situations that do not come up in lectures.

The future

This article depicts only the first part of the project that set the foundation for the future actions. During this project the students in Finnish project team will change but Chinese team stays the same for the whole two-year project. This change in personnel has a lot to do with the formation of the studies in both countries. Finnish students use project management system to manage the project and share the documents. The teachers for both Hyvinkää and Lohja students stay the same for the whole project. The first teams planned the process and now new students are taking those into action.

The goal for the second part of the project is to take these proposed plans to action. We are now contacting interested businesses in both countries and building the contacts for them. The idea is that by the coming spring, we would have the first actual contacts for the international projects. It is also in the plans that in the spring 2016 the students and faculty from Xiamen University Software School will come to Finland to meet the new Finnish students and also to get acquainted with Finnish culture and businesses connected with the project.


Janika Kyttä, Coordinator, M.Ed., Laurea University of Applied Sciences,

Daniela Frisk, Bachelor Student, Business & Administration, Laurea University of Applied Sciences,

Jenna Kuusimäki, Bachelor Student, Business & Administration, Laurea University of Applied Sciences,

Networking to Bridge the European Regional Innovation Systems – The Case of METNET Knowledge-Based Innovation Network

Globalised Market Trends and Regional Innovation System

Current trends in the globalised markets of the twenty-first century include increased interdependency and inter-organisational networking between organisations from different societies. A number of researchers who are involved in the field of innovation clusters and networks have explored positive outcomes that arise from the sustainable networking of actors with complementary resources and competencies (e.g. Porter, 1998, Asheim & Isaksen, 2000; Ferreira et al., 2012).

Following these trends, non-profit sector organisations in the fields of education and academic research have also become engaged in a variety of academic partnerships, exchange programmes and industry cooperation projects.

At the heart of these developments, the completion of the European Research Area (ERA) by 2014 was at the top of the political and legislative agenda of the European Union (EU), as it would be an area of free movement and exchange of research, scientific knowledge and technology (Chou, 2014).
Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) have been raised to the position of being the most critical tools for enhancing research and innovation capacities throughout Europe and ensuring their optimal use. Lundvall (1985) initiated the term of Innovation System (IS). A few years later, the idea of the Regional Innovation System (RIS) was introduced (Cooke, 1992; Isaksen, 2001; Iammarino, 2005). There are different approaches used by scholars to define RIS. According to Cooke (1992), the concept of RIS is the prelude to an extended discussion on the importance of financial capacity, institutionalised learning and productive culture to systemic innovation.

The complete regional innovation system consists of (1) firms representing a region’s main industrial clusters, including their support industries, (2) ‘supporting’ knowledge organisations, and (3) the active interaction between these actors. Thus, it involves cooperation in innovation activities between firms and knowledge creating and diffusing organisations, such as universities, colleges, R&D institutes, business associations etc. (Isaksen, 2001) Some researchers consider RIS as an interactive, dynamic structure made up of partners in the regional production (Lambooy, 2002) or even as a kind of complex adaptive system (Cooke, 2013).

Table 1. A hierarchy of three related concepts (Isaksen, 2001)

Concepts Definitions and differences
Regional cluster A concentration of ‘independent’ firms within the same or adjacent industrial sectors in a small geographical area
Regional innovation network Increasingly organised cooperation (agreements) between firms, stimulated by trust, norms and conventions
Regional innovation system Cooperation between firms and different organisations for knowledge development and diffusion
Learning regions Increasingly organised cooperation with a broader set of civil organisations and public authorities that are embedded in social and regional structures

Isaksen (2001) emphasises that the change from a cluster to an innovation system requires strengthening the region’s institutional infrastructure through enlarging the involvement of knowledge organisations (both regional and national) in innovation cooperation. Organisations cooperate closely on an institutional level with the aim to develop and implement regional innovation strategies (Boekema et al., 2000) in order to develop the local economy.

The case of the METNET knowledge-based innovation network

Recognising the strength and power of networks in creating regional innovation system and fostering economic growth, the knowledge-based innovation network (METNET) was established on the basis of the regional cluster InnoSteel, which was founded by the Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) in cooperation with Rautaruukki Oyj (currently SSAB Ab). Establishing the METNET knowledge-based innovation network was a first step towards building a regional innovation system (RIS) in the Häme region.

The aims of the METNET network were:

  1. to consolidate the expertise and efforts of the regional steel construction and technology industries in research and development, and
  2. to share knowledge and technology services as well as new production-related solutions and operating models among the industry players.

Recognising the strength of international cooperation networks in contributing to regional innovation systems, the METNET knowledge-based network was formally founded by signing an agreement between eight foundation members in Berlin on 2 November 2006.

The METNET knowledge-based network is based on voluntary cooperation and equality of rights for its members. The purpose of the network is to bring together European educational and R&D organisations engaged in research and development in the steel construction and technology industry to support their cooperation.

The specific objectives of the METNET knowledge-based network are as follows:

  • to build and maintain a large scale international innovation environment for the network members and their regions,
  • to promote the exchange of information and best practices through the network to increase the know-how of companies and organisations operating in the European steel construction and technology industry,
  • to support innovative processes aimed at developing new products, services and business processes by sharing capabilities, expertise and resources among network members,
  • to prepare and launch joint international projects of common interest financed by companies, European Union, World Bank etc.,
  • to hold international seminars, workshops, training programmes, and consultation and to seek funding for these activities.

Currently, the METNET network has over 40 members from 17 countries all over Europe including non-member states of the European Union such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Turkey. These members are universities, higher education, as well as research institutions and enterprises who represent their regional innovation networks. Each regional innovation network has its own priorities and strengths (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. METNET knowledge-based innovation network.

HAMK has been the leading member of the METNET network acting as the main coordinator of most activities for the entire period since network’s foundation. As a leader, HAMK has been responsible for organising annual conferences, workshops and other forms of cooperation within the network. The METNET annual conferences and workshops have taken place in different countries and been organised in cooperation with the regional network members. The Tenth METNET International Conference will be hosted by the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) in Budapest in October 2015.

Network members fund their own participation in METNET activities themselves through their own financing arrangements and/or projects. Among the most active Finnish sponsors are the City of Hämeenlinna, Rautaruukki Oyj (currently SSAB Ab), HAMK and other university members. In the case of METNET international events, the regional sponsors have been local businesses, universities and city organisations.

Planning, preparing and managing joint international projects are the most important and most demanding activities of the METNET network. The network members have prepared and submitted several project applications for the EU funding. There is an international project, named Ruoste (financed by the Research Fund of Coal and Steel RFCS) currently running. Currently, another project in the same technical area is under preparation. Additionally, METNET members have participated in several Finnish national projects managed by HAMK.


The METNET network has significant implications for the development potential, research and innovation capacities of the Häme regional innovation system (RIS) and wider communities of Europe represented by the network members. METNET provides an international innovation environment for its members and the possibility to expand their regional innovation networks internationally.

International networking facilitates learning that promotes innovation. Through the channels of the METNET network, network members are able to use more of the information available in their research and development work. Importantly, enterprises are able to acquire new knowledge, new development and business opportunities and access to resources outside their regions.
Interpersonal relationships are of particular importance in the exchange of information between the network members. The achieved long-term trustful relationships stimulate interactive learning and inspire joint development work. In turn, joint projects developed by the members of the network maintain the METNET cooperation.

Finally, the cumulative effects of utilising the possibilities of an international cooperation network, instead of the regional innovation network only, will produce significant increases in the economic value added of enterprises. (Tenhunen, 2007)


Marina Weck, Development Manager, M.Sc. (Eng.), MBA, Häme University of Applied Sciences,

Lauri Tenhunen, Dr. of Science, Adjunct Professor, Häme University of Applied Sciences,

Asheim, B., & Isaksen, A. 2000. Localised knowledge, interactive learning and innovation: between regional networks and global corporations. In E. Vatne, & M. Taylor (Eds.), The Networked Firm in a Global World. Small Firms in New Environments (pp.163-198). Ashgate: Aldershot.

Boekema,F., Morgan, K., Bakkers, S. & Rutten, R. 2000. Introduction to Learning Regions: A New Issue for Analysis? In F. Boekema, K. Morgan, S. Bakkers, & R. Rutten (Eds.), Knowledge, Innovation and Economic Growth. The Theory and Practice of Learning Regions. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Chou, M.H. 2014. The evolution of the European research area as an idea in European integration. In Building the knowledge economy in Europe: New constellations in European research and higher education governance (pp. 27-50)Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Cooke, P. 1992. Regional innovation systems: competitive regulation in the new Europe. Geoforum, 23(3), 365-382.

Cooke P. 2013. Complex adaptive innovation systems: Relatedness and transversality in the evolving region. New York, NY: Routledge.

Ferreira, J., Garrido Azevedo, S., & Raposo, M.L. 2012. Specialization of regional clusters and innovative behavior: A case study. Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, 22(2), 147-169.

Iammarino, S. 2005. An evolutionary integrated view of regional systems of innovation: concepts, measures and historical perspectives. European Planning Studies, 13, 497-519.

Isaksen, A. 2001. Building regional innovation systems: is endogenous industrial development possible in the global economy? Canadian Journal of Regional Science, 24(1), 101-120.

Lambooy. 2002. Knowledge and urban economic development: An evolutionary perspective. Urban Studies, 39 (5–6), 1019-1035.

Lundvall, B.Å. 1985. Product innovation and user-producer interaction. Aalborg: Aalborg University Press.

Porter, M. 1998. Clusters and the new economics of competition. Harvard Business Review. November-December, 77-90.

Tenhunen, L. 2007. How international collaboration benefits companies – Evaluation of the scale effects of an expanding innovation environment. Cases InnoSteel and Metnet. In T. Similä-Lehtinen (Ed.), InnoSteel – True Stories Made Out of Steel. HAMK Publications, 10.

CARPE – The European strategic network in higher education


The agreement between the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and the higher education institutions for the period 2013–2016 contains a section of internationalisation to ensure high quality. According to the agreement, higher education institutions should create international strategic partnerships to strengthen their focal areas. In addition, the joint supply of education including joint and double degrees and the collaboration in research and development are essential elements in international collaboration.

The creation of the strategic network

Higher education institutions typically have a large number of international agreements, which create insufficient collaboration and unnecessary bureaucracy among partners. To avoid these difficulties, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht searched the best partner and found Turku University of Applied Sciences in 2008. The top management of these institutions prepared the plans to create the strategic network, defined the required features of the potential higher education institutions and began to search suitable partners for the network.

The partnership criteria included that the institutions should be universities of applied sciences, which have applied research and development that serve professional education and support regional development. The institutions should have similar fields of education to enable student and staff exchange, joint educational programmes and collaboration in research and development. The promotion of innovations also had an important role in emphasising the external impact of the institutions.

International trade was an important motivation for the geographical coverage of the network. Europe is an important market for the export companies of the countries where the institutions of the strategic network are located. For example, the share of the export of the Finnish gross domestic product is nearly 40% and the share of Europe of the export is about 55%. The universities of applied sciences want to support international trade and other international activities. Another motivation for the European partnership was the funding from European Union for student and staff exchange and research and development projects. Based on these factors, the strategic network supports the European economic and social cohesion in the common market.

The strategic network provides a trustworthy learning environment for students who want to strengthen their international competences (Kettunen, 2015a). Trust was considered an important factor in the strategic network because it lowers the unnecessary transaction costs (Kettunen, 2015b). It was agreed in the first discussions that the network should not be too large to support trustworthy collaboration and create benefits for the members of the network. Trust is important when the members prepare the bids of research and development projects, carry out projects and disseminate results. Institutional trust was promoted by the general agreement between members. The formal association was established according to the Dutch legislation.

The European strategic network

The general agreement of CARPE was signed by four European universities of applied sciences at the first CARPE Conference in November 2011. Manchester Metropolitan University joined the network next year, soon after the Conference. The CARPE network includes the following members:

  • HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht
  • Turku University of Applied Sciences
  • Polytechnic University of Valencia
  • Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
  • Manchester Metropolitan University.

CARPE is not a closed network restricted only to activities between members. It is not reasonable to limit the collaboration between the predetermined partners, because the development needs of customers may require partners outside the network. Therefore the network welcomes other partners for research and development projects whenever it is reasonable for the aims of the projects. Similarly, the member institutions of CARPE have student and staff exchange with other institutions outside the strategic network whenever it is considered valuable.

Figure 1 describes the geographical coverage of the CARPE network on the European map. The network has spread over Western Europe and it is biased in this respect. There are plans to extend the coverage to Eastern Europe. The Steering Committee of CARPE accepted the University of Debrecen as an associate member in November 2014 and it has a good possibility to become a full member if it can maintain the high activity level in the network.

Figure 1. The geographical coverage of the CARPE network.

The governance of the network

The governance of the CARPE network is stipulated in the CARPE Statutes so that there are full members and associate members. The first five institutions are full members. The new members can be considered for associate members if they have enough activities including staff and student exchange and research and development projects. If the activity level remains high or increases, the associate members can be considered for full members. The convergence criteria have been planned to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and maintain the high level of trust between the partners.

Figure 2 describes the Steering Committee of CARPE in 2014. It is the highest decision making body of the network. It is represented by the heads of the institutions and supported by the support group which prepares the agenda of the meetings. The steering committee meets twice a year. The spring meeting is held in Brussels and autumn meeting in one of the member institutions. The Steering Committee evaluates the progress made and takes new steps for improvement of activities. It has also set various groups to prepare further development.

Figure 2. The Steering Committee meeting of CARPE in Brussels in April 2014. From left Dr Jacqueline Otten, Dr Juha Kettunen, Mr Ralf Behrens, Ms Geri Bonhof, Dr Sharon Handley, Ms Kirsti Virtanen, Dr Juan-Miguel Martinez Rubio, Dr Christopher Fox and Ms Marlies Ngouateu-Bussemaker.

Objectives and results of the network

The objectives of the CARPE network were aligned with the motivation to establish the network. Higher education institutions support the economic and social development in Europe. The objectives of the network are the following:

  • Exchange and collaboration in European research programmes
  • Development of joint study programmes
  • Exchange of students and staff
  • Establishment of a strong European reputation.

The CARPE network has increased the activity of the partner institutions in the European research programmes. The web site of the CARPE network ( includes a large number of research and educational projects. The general principle is that the CARPE partners first contact the other CARPE partners when they prepare new project bids. That is not always possible, because the workloads of the teachers and other staff at the partner institutions are full. Then other partners outside CARPE can be sought for the projects.

The development of joint study programmes has taken its first steps. The objectives of the degree programmes at the home and host institutions have to be evaluated before the agreement of joint degrees. Additional challenges are the pedagogical regulations and structures of education, which are different in the countries of CARPE partners. Networking emphasises the need of the flexible structures of curricula.

The exchange of students and staff has been active. The Turku University of Applied Sciences arranged the third biennale CARPE Conference in Turku in May 2015. The theme of the conference was Towards Successful European Societies: The Social and Economic Significance of Universities of Applied Sciences. Altogether 225 members from the partner institutions participated in the conference.

CARPE has achieved the strong European reputation, because it is the first strategic network of its kind among the universities of applied sciences. The activities and results of CARPE network have been presented in international conferences. The reputation has reached Brussels, because CARPE Steering Committee has its spring meeting is in Brussels, where its meets the experts of European Commission.

CARPE has connected education and research and provided services to small and medium-sized enterprises and other organisations. The strategic network has promoted economic and social progress through the strengthening of economic and social cohesion of Europe. The institutions of the network strengthen the capabilities that are needed in the European common market.


Juha Kettunen, Chancellor, DSc(Econ), PhD, DSc(Tech), Turku University of Applied Sciences,

Kettunen, J. 2015a. Learning and teaching in the European strategic network, The Online Journal of Quality in Higher Education, 2(2), 57-64.

Kettunen, J. 2015b. The strategic network of higher education institutions, Business Education & Accreditation, 7(1), 87-95.