Cooperation with upper-secondary schools is an important aspect of the work of the Open University. Demand for upper-secondary school cooperation has increased during the past year. This is because the new Act on General Upper Secondary Education (714/2018), which took effect in autumn 2019, obliged upper-secondary schools to cooperate with institutions of higher education. This is also mentioned in the performance agreements of institutions of higher education.
The goal of upper-secondary school cooperation is to provide pupils with the opportunity to try university studies during their upper-secondary education. It is hoped that this opportunity will help pupils choose from different education options after matriculation. Upper-secondary school pupils can discover what university studies are like and may even find their own field.
From pilot to established cooperation model
Since summer 2019, the Open University has been piloting a model for upper-secondary school cooperation together with the City of Vantaa. In this cooperation pilot, the City of Vantaa offered a selection of Open University studies to upper-secondary school pupils in Vantaa in the summer of 2019 and the academic year 2019–2020.
The experiences from the pilot were so positive that the decision was made to make the model permanent from summer 2020 onwards. With the permanent cooperation agreement, all of the Open University’s curriculum has been made available to the pupils of Vantaa’s upper-secondary schools. Completed courses will be entered into the University of Helsinki’s student records and will also be recognised for the pupils’ upper-secondary studies.
In addition to the City of Vantaa, the Open University has now concluded cooperation agreements with upper-secondary schools in the City of Helsinki and the Lahti region. Pupils from upper-secondary schools in the City of Helsinki will be participating in Open University courses from summer 2020, while the cooperation in the Lahti region will launch in autumn 2020.
Open University courses for upper-secondary school students
The Open University offers many different opportunities for upper-secondary school pupils to try university studies and find a field that interests them. Open University studies have no prerequisites or age limits, and the studies comply with the University of Helsinki’s curricula. Lecture series, online studies and examinations from nearly all of the University’s disciplines are available year-round.
However, some Open University studies are more suitable for upper-secondary school pupils than others. These studies can be found in the Open University’s course search by using the search filter (Show studies that are suitable for upper-secondary school students). The study programmes also feature a dedicated Suitable for upper-secondary school students tag, as do the preliminary listings for upcoming courses. Studies that are considered suitable for upper-secondary school pupils are primarily introductory courses which provide a good starting point for university studies.