where things can be handled (in Finnish “transaction language”). This has strengthened our mission to take forward reforms that will enable the use of Espoo’s service platforms in English as well. Many things have improved, but some things still need to be addressed – especially the completion of the few official documents used.
We have encountered situations where it is too difficult for foreign language speakers to use the service due to the language barrier. In these situations, it also affects the comfort of Espoo. My friend of a non-Finnish speaker According to him, it is common that the English language options in Espoo’s telephone services are not very smooth, and sometimes it is easier to go through the Finnish telephone service even with very little Finnish skills. We need to stay at the quality level, especially as the number of foreign speakers in Espoo is growing rapidly. Fortunately, the potential of online service channels also weakens the role of this bottleneck.
Sometimes the worst problem is that you can’t find the right information and service channels, even if you have them. Fortunately, we have combined the most important information about Espoo and its services for foreigners in English on a specific website: https://www.helloespoo.fi/en-US.
In addition, the Finnish word “transaction” does not have an exact equivalent in English. It refers to services, customer service, and the conduct of affairs, but also includes administrative procedures, cooperation between authorities, and internal processes within authorities. Finnish and Swedish will remain the written administrative languages of Espoo and the languages of official decisions. English is called the language of service (“Service Language”).
More training in English
Copying most of the city’s services in English is a fairly easy task compared to the challenge of how to increase the supply of English-language education in Espoo to meet the growing demand. This is certainly a necessary battle for Espoo. It has a short payback period, making it easier for foreign talents to move and reside in Finland with their families. In childcare and pre-school education, the market is more flexible because private services can be provided quite extensively. And the supply is growing.
Primary and secondary education is strictly limited to public and semi-public providers. We have established the Espoo International School (Suurpelto), which operates entirely in English, and we have expanded the number of English-language classes in other schools. Recently, we have established a branch campus for the International School in Otaniemi. In the following years, it will grow and in fact form the second international school in Espoo. We have two secondary education units with English IB classes and we can increase the number of places quite flexibly.
So supply has grown dramatically over the last 10 years. And yes, we must continue and accelerate the establishment of English-language education services in Espoo in the future as well.
The goal of the City of Espoo is to take better account of the needs of the English language and to develop new English-language services. As many immigrants use English as a support language when teaching Finnish or Swedish, this helps foreign language speakers to integrate more quickly into society and to prevent further segregation and the disadvantages it causes.
The active use of English by foreigners already living in the city also opens up opportunities for immigrants with a foreign background to get involved and be part of the community.
English as a service language increases equal opportunities in education and working life. It also increases the sense of belonging and reduces inequality.
Make Espoo the best place for foreigners in Europe!
I believe that this reform will also attract new international experts to Espoo, as English-language services will also make it easier for international companies to locate in Espoo. In order to maintain its vitality in the future, Espoo must attract international companies, events and tourists, and promote the immigration of students from international universities, skilled labor and entrepreneurs.
The purpose of the reform is to strengthen the positive image of international investors, companies and experts in Espoo. This reform still needs to be done, but I see it as a positive challenge.
Chairman of the Espoo City Council
Member of the national parliament
Source: The Nordic Page