Doctoral thesis about school choice appealed to media in Finland

Image1The doctoral dissertation of Sonja Kosunen, member of JustEd team 1, has gained a lot of attention from the Finnish media in January. Her dissertation “Families and the social space of school choice in Urban Finland” sheds light on the school choices made by families in the city of Espoo in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The study shows that the assumption that Finnish education is of equally high quality across schools is somewhat false, at least on the level of symbolic prestige and reputation in the parental imagination.

After Sonja’s dissertation defence, her research was first topic on the main news forecast on the national TV. More interesting was that the Finnish Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen commented on the topic and said that she will ask the National Board of Education for a report concerning equality in school choice, especially in terms of aptitude-tests and entrance examinations.

The news can be seen here, first 6 minutes (in Finnish).

Already in August 2015, the biggest newspaper in the country Helsingin Sanomat, wrote two articles about the findings of Sonja and her colleagues:
11 August: Eliittiluokat vähemmistön suosikki – vanhempien ihanne on “ihan hyvä” koulu (The classes of the elites is not so popular – parents prefer “decent” schools)
August: Vanhempien ihanne on “ihan hyvä” koulu (Finnish parents prefer “decent” schools)

In early January, the newspaper Talouselämä published an news article about the dissertation:
7 January: “Jossain ryhmissä kaikkien lasten isät työskentelivät it-alalla samankaltaisissa tehtävissä” – Koulujen oppilasvalikointi suosii hyväosaisten lapsia (“In some groups all the children’s fathers had similar job assignments in the it-field”- School choice favour the kids of the fortunate)

The newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published an article featuring Sonja and her research results:
9 January: Väitös: Hyväosaisen helpompi päästä toivekouluun Espoossa (Doctoral thesis: Easier for the fortunates to be admitted to the requested school in Espoo)

The public broadcasting Company YLE, interviewed Sonja for the Swedish speaking radio Vega:
Doktorsavhandling: lagom är bäst när föräldrar skolshoppar (Doctoral thesis: parents chose good-enough schools for their children).




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About the Author

About the Author: Journalist currently working as Communications Specialist at the Nordic Centre of Excellence "Justice through Education in the Nordic countries" and in NordForsk's programme "Education for Tomorrow". .


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