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It is important for everyone to "have a voice, be heard, hear others, receive an answer, present an answer and build understanding together"

Learners as decision makers

Helsinki, Finland
Participation is clearly a common practice in the City of Helsinki's Education Division. By law, the education provider must hear pupils and students with regard to decisions that have a significant effect on their position, and encourage them to become involved in their school's operations and development. One of the key aspects of education consists of enabling learners to have a say and be heard, and to take part in the school's activities.

What is Learners as decision makers?

“We meet politicians, write statements and let the adults hear how we young people feel about things. We can really affect things.”

Milja, 9th-grader

The schools, general upper secondary schools and Stadin ammatti- ja aikuisopisto have student councils, the purpose of which is to promote opportunities to influence matters and participate. Student council representatives also sit on the school boards, contributing to the school rules and operating plans. 

One of the tasks of the pupil and student councils is to create and maintain a pleasant atmosphere and thereby help to reduce bullying. Listening to and valuing other people's opinions and respecting everyone are of primary importance. These democratic skills are learned and taught in group work throughout life. 

Most schools in Helsinki have systems whereby more senior pupils support younger ones, and have various food, environmental and media groups that independently support the operating culture's development. Activities like this include reducing food waste, producing the school's social media and improving school satisfaction.

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Innovation Overview
1 - 18
Age Group
100 000
Tips for implementation
Creating a culture where everyone's voice is heard is important and necessary when implementing this innovation. This way learners realize that their opinions are valued and taken truly into account in decisions.

Achievements & Awards


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