The Finnish Students on the Move programme has been revolutionising basic and upper secondary education for a long time. Now, the programme has also expanded into higher education. The Higher Education on the Move programme aims to change the culture of higher education and to support students’ well-being during their studies and before they enter working life.
This spring, the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) received a positive decision from the Ministry of Education and Culture to start coordinating Higher Education on the Move activities nationally. We have been working actively to achieve this goal for a long time.
The Higher Education on the Move activities are motivated by an urgent need to promote a physically active lifestyle and everyday physical activity throughout life. By instilling a physically active lifestyle into the Finnish population we aim to improve their health and to prevent health problems caused by physical inactivity. Physical activity also supports mental health.
In 2009, the Finnish Schools on the Move programme was launched to increase physical activity in basic education. In 2017, the programme was expanded to cover upper secondary education when the Finnish Students on the Move programme was launched. 127 educational institutions in upper secondary education have already joined the Finnish Students on the Move programme. The programme continues in upper secondary education.
This spring, the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) was granted responsibility for coordinating the Higher Education on the Move activities. In the Higher Education on the Move programme, the activities and culture established in the Finnish Schools on the Move programme will be implemented in higher education. We implement these activities by taking into account the individual needs of higher education institutions.
In early spring, OLL started planning the Higher Education on the Move activities by considering future steps and prerequisites for success. We identified the following factors as prerequisites for success:
- commitment of the higher education institutions
- individual method of implementation
- local cooperation.
During the spring, we contacted student associations and student unions to find out which higher education institutions would be interested in taking part in the activities. The Higher Education on the Move was received positively and we heard some really great ideas about how higher education institutions want to implement its activities locally.
In addition to students, student unions and associations, the Higher Education on the Move cooperation includes higher education institutions and academic sports services whose expertise has been invaluable for both us and local partners.
OLL would like to say a special thank you to the management of the Finnish higher education institutions. The management of the higher education institutions has clearly understood the potential and significance of the Higher Education on the Move activities as an investment in the future. Ideally, the Higher Education on the Move will be seen as an asset when students accustomed to learning environments which support physical activity at lower levels of study will apply to higher education institutions in the future.
The second asset of the programme is learning outcomes, which can improve significantly even with a small increase in physical activity, as is shown by the experience gained from basic and upper secondary education.
The third asset is the various public health benefits, which are significant both nationally and internationally and as part of Finland’s country brand.
The Higher Education on the Move programme is also on its way to becoming an international innovation. FISU, the international umbrella organisation for student sports and sports organisations, has launched the Healthy Campus programme. The objectives of FISU’s programme are very similar to those of the Higher Education on the Move.
At the moment, our Higher Education on the Move team is making preparations for this autumn’s training and the upcoming application for project funding. The coronavirus pandemic that broke out in the spring has kept us on our toes, and not all the effects of the pandemic are yet known.
However, we are positive about the future and will do everything we can to promote the objectives of the Higher Education on the Move programme.
OLL will continue to support higher education institutions interested in applying to take part in the activities. We also encourage those interested to apply for funding for the activities from the Ministry of Education and Culture during the upcoming application period for project grants. You can still register to become a higher education institution on the move, so please get in touch with OLL.
For more information, please contact Anni Liina Ikonen, OLL’s Special Advisor for University Sport or your own OLL godparent.
Come and join the Higher Education on the Move programme!
Anni Liina Ikonen, Special Advisor for University Sport, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 44 780 0219