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Innovative schooling: Finland's Me & MyCity program

Finland has long had a reputation for innovative schooling methods, and the Me & MyCity program is no exception. It creates an environment for sixth-graders which simulates a miniature city where students work in a profession and function as consumers and citizens, as part of society.

Inside a large hall in an industrial building on the outskirts of the shipping and engineering city of Vaasa, it looks a bit like a small trade fair is going on. It has been divided into booths, each of which represents a sponsor company. In one booth, sponsored by a supermarket chain, a girl stacks shelves while another starts up the computer and looks at inventory. In another booth that bears the logo of a major local engineering company, three students are donning hard hats and reflective vests to go on a site inspection. In another, a group of students works to get a newspaper published.

There are 55 sixth-graders here today - around 12 years old. They come from three schools in the region. Hannah Sandberg works for Me and MyCity, and she's here to help the children and make sure they all know what they're doing, and that everything runs smoothly. She says the children here are learning important life skills. "The children learn about society and what it's like to have a job," she says. "They get a salary, they pay taxes, they have free time and they have work duties... so they learn what it's like to be a grown-up."

The Me & MyCity program began back in 2009, and it has now expanded to many locations throughout Finland. It's run in conjunction with Finnish universities and it attracts big-name corporate sponsors. Here in Vaasa, the main city of the Ostrobothnia region, some 4,500 students take part in the program every year. 

Kukka-Maaria Kallio is the Me and MyCity regional coordinator for the Ostrobothnia region in central Finland. She organizes these event days, and says that since the program began, some 250,000 students across Finland have taken part in it. She says some students research the companies they will be representing, and even contact them, before they take part. She says that ethical corporate behavior -- responsibility to society and to the environment -- is an important part of the overall concept.

Source: Deutsche Welle



Päivitetty/Updated: 11.07.2018

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