Four JustEd members received new funding from the Academy of Finland

By on 14.06.2017 in Funding

JustEd members Kristiina Brunila, Piia Seppänen, Tero Järvinen and Sonja Kosunen have received funding from the Academy of Finland.

Kristiina Brunila got four year funding for her new project called Interrupting Youth Support Systems in the Ethos of Vulnerability, which is a continuation of the ending project Youth on the Move.

Kristiina’s research project focus on critically exploring cross-sectoral policies and practices of youth support systems intended for young people considered as vulnerable. Many of the researchers in the project are JustEd members, e.g. Elina Ikäheimo, Tuuli Kurki, Ameera Masoud, Katariina Mertanen and Kristiina Hannukainen.

Kristiina Brunila 3

Kristiina Brunila, University of Helsinki

“We explore how these policies and practices influence ‘vulnerable’ young people,” explains Kristiina.

“This project provides an opportunity to integrate several crucial perspectives into the research: young people’s own accounts of their life careers, the institutional perspective from interviews with teachers, youth workers, other professionals and policy makers, and various policy documents from educational and social welfare organisations.”

The project builds on the work done in her previous research project Youth on the Move. Revisiting the vulnerability zeitgeist in the era of market-oriented education (2014-2017).

“With the approach developed in our previous project, we are able to engage young people who are considered ‘difficult to reach’ into the research process”, says Kristiina.

“Our approach provides a way to analyse conditions, restrictions and possibilities for young people to become subjects, not merely objects related to relevance in support targeted to them,” Kristiina adds.

Cross-cultural and comparative interpretation is possible through sustainable cooperation and joint analysis of researchers working in different institutions, different countries, and different support systems.

Recent publications in the project are:

  • Kurki, T., Masoud, A., Niemi, A-M. & Brunila, K. (forthcoming). Integration becoming business: marketisation of educational policies and integration practices for immigrants. European Educational Research Journal.
  • Brunila, K., Ikävalko, E., Kurki, T., Masoud, A., Mertanen, K., Mikkola, A., Mäkelä, K. (2017). Transitions and Equity in Education. Oxford Ensyclopedia of Education. Oxford University Press.

Comparing systems in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand

Professor Piia Seppänen

Piia Seppänen, University of Turku

Piia Seppänen, University of Turku, got four years of funding for her research project ‘Hollowing Out of Public Education Systems? Private Actors in Compulsory Schooling in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand’ (HOPES).

“The HOPES-project will investigate the important but under-researched issue of growing private sector involvement in public education,” says Piia.

The project will identify, compare and discuss the consequences of the private sector becoming involved in compulsory schooling and related policy making in three national settings; Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. These are all small countries with historically strong public education systems.

“There is much to gain from comparing Finland, where privatisation may be just beginning to emerge, with the other two countries where the private sector has already become more involved. We will analyse a wide range of data, such as websites, policy documents, and interviews with key individuals,” explains Piia.

The HOPES project will contribute to international research on the growing privatisation of education and the emergence of a so-called ‘Global Education Industry’. It will also inform policymakers, professionals and the public in Finland and beyond.

Education Systems, learning and social change

Tero Järvinen, University of Turku, also received funding for his research project ‘Education Systems, Learning and Social Change: A Comparative Longitudinal Study on Young People’s Educational Trajectories and Learning of the 21st Century Skills in Europe, Australia, South America and North America (EduSys)’.

Privatization and access to higher education

Sonja Kosunen, University of Helsinki

Sonja Kosunen, University of Helsinki

Sonja Kosunen, University of Helsinki, received three year of funding as a postdoctoral researcher on Privatization and Access to Higher Education: relations of power, guidance devices, and private capital in the transition to higher education (PAHE), which is a project with several JustEd members involved, such as Professor and Research Director Agnès van Zanten, CNRS/SciencesPo, France.

“Entrance-examination-based competition for study positions in Finnish higher education is harsh,” states Sonja.

“Previous research has shown how young applicants from affluent urban backgrounds seem to be more likely to end up in higher-education institutions, which produces a socio-economically biased student body in universities.”

Sonja wants to study the mechanisms, processes, mediators and guidance devices that are embedded in the transition to higher education. The aim of her study is to find out how the social space of educational choice is constructed in relation to different public and private actors in the higher education field.; and to investigate how the logic of the field influences applicants’ choices of and access to higher education with regard to their background.

“With this study I want to contribute to the discussion around educational equality, equal opportunities and social justice in access to higher education.”


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