Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Education for Swedish-Speaking Finns: Part Four

Between 1880 and 1881, Swedish-speaking students numbered 1,764 while the total of Finnish-speaking students came only to 786.  In 1908-1909, however, the Swede-Finn numbers remained constant at 1,771 while the number of Finnish students grew to 4,756.  

During the 1920s and 1930s, Finnish-speaking university students battled for the "Finnification" of the University of Helsinki.  The prevalence of Swedish-speaking professors and Swedish as the language of instruction placed a great onus on the Finnish speakers.  

The large number of Swedish schools and large size of the Swedish-speaking upper class encouraged an "overproduction" of Swedish-speaking university students in comparison to the size of the Swede-Finn population (Paulson, 1977).  Today, the University of Helsinki still has a quota for Swedish-speaking students and professors, and Abo Akademi in Turku caters only to Swedish speakers.  

The separate education for Swede-Finns reflects the mutual acknowledgment of the difference between both linguistic groups.  

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