In the future, the changes to the Finnish matriculation examination that will take effect on Tuesday will require at least five subjects to pass the exam.
The baccalaureate degree is completed at the end of secondary education and is a key factor in deciding whether students are eligible for university.
"There are quite a few people in our group of friends who are studying five or six subjects," Lappeenranta high school student Aada Skippari told Yle. "I have a few other friends who I think find it easier to study just four subjects because of my living conditions."
"Many see the change as a positive thing, some lasting up to seven subjects. It doesn’t hurt anyone" Niko Demirciwho attends the same high school, said.
The effects are already visible
Until five years ago, less than 20 percent of students chose only four subjects for the exam, and last year the number dropped to 10 percent.
"The aim is to strengthen education," Tiina Tähkäthe secretary general of the matriculation examination told Yle.
"When eighteen subjects are studied in high school and quite a lot of courses, more and more skills in many different subjects will appear in the matriculation examination in the future."
The change is a direct consequence of the recent reform of higher education institutions, where applicants receive points in five or, in some cases, six subjects to gain a bachelor’s degree.
The reform of the baccalaureate degree also aims to alleviate the pressures that students have previously faced during examinations. For example, repeating exams is now easier than before.
This is a source of consolation for students who are now stressed that they have to study five subjects.
"It is not necessary to set very high targets for all five substances. Even an examination [the lowest passing grade in the Finnish system] it is sufficient to show that a great deal of information has been accumulated during primary and secondary school," This one said.
Extra work does not motivate all students
However, not everyone is happy with the change.
The reform is opposed by the upper secondary school and Sakki, which represents vocational students.
The number of dual graduates – students pursuing upper secondary education at the same time as vocational training – has fallen steadily in recent years, with Sakki chairman Jutta Vihonen said there is a growing concern that the experiments are too difficult.
"The decline in the number of dual degree students needs to be monitored. If the number continues to fall, it appears that this reform has led to a fall in" Vihonen said.
Asta KaaproSaimaa Vocational College Sampo’s study counselors in Lappeenranta, added that they were worried about the long days of double-degree students.
"Studying has become very stressful even before this change, but studying a fifth subject further increases the number of high school students studying," he said.
Undoing changes is unlikely
In the dual degree program, a student completes both the professional course of their choice and the matriculation examination. The opportunity to complete a matriculation examination in four subjects had been particularly popular among double degree students.
The Sakki Student Union regretted that no proposal was made for a student to replace one of the five subjects in the matriculation examination with his or her own professional degree course.
Tiina Tähkä of the Matriculation Examination Board rejected the possibility that the changes would take place in the near future.
"Such a solution would require changes in the law, as it is not a small change. This is something that MPs and also the ministry need to take into account. It is unlikely in the near future," he said.
Source: The Nordic Page