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Finland  [2]  Context of EU policies and programmes 

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Since 1995, the European Union has executed European level training policy in the form of the Leonardo da Vinci programme. The first stage of the  programme was carried out from 1995 through to 1999. The second stage commenced on 2000 and will continue until the end of the year 2006. The objective of the  programme is to develop vocational training in cooperation between training organisations and working life. Tools used to reach this goal are development projects and mobility measures. In Finland, the  programme runs under the administration of the Leonardo Centre situated under the National Board of Education, and the Leonardo Unit of the CIMO (Center for International Mobility).

The Finnish Ministry for Education ordered two evaluations of the  programme: a retrospective evaluation of the development projects during the first stage, and an interim evaluation of the second stage of the  programme. These evaluations were carried out by the senior researcher Seija Mahlamäki-Kultanen of the University of Tampere's Research Centre for Vocational Education. The results of the retrospective evaluation supported the interim evaluation of the second stage of the  programme, and they both add to the overall picture of what effects the Leonardo da Vinci  programme has had in Finland.

The objective of the retrospective evaluation of the development projects during the first stage was to answer the following questions: What kind of long term effects have the projects and their products had, and how have these results been utilised after the projects have ended? What kind of impact has the projects had on new skills and employability? Does the  programme have an impact on educational practices or policies? How has the level of international cooperation of the target group changed, and what is its status at the moment? How well does the  programme suit the needs of the target group? How can an international  programme, especially within the European Union, affect the development of vocational education and training? What are the additional values brought along by the European Union? Could it be possible to manage these operations on a national level, too?

The total finances directed towards the development projects in Finland during 1995 to 1999 were 11,070,119€. Both the contents, the coordinators and the objectives of the 65 different LdV development projects contracted by Finnish organisations during the first  programme period varied greatly. Thus, the material for the evaluation was collected using open, qualitative methods through questionnaires, interviews and data research, aiming to find different forms and degrees of impact. Replies were received from 56 projects, representing 86 % of the projects. The report presents short summaries of the projects, their updated contact information, description of what kind of impact they had during their implementation period as well as today, and an estimate of the scale of the project's impact.

The results indicate that the impact of a typical development project during its running phase was either very big or big, and continues to remain so. The most essential factor influencing the long-term impact of the project seems to be the simple fact that the objective of the project has to be both meaningful and important to the target group. This is far more important than the apparently innovative character of the project.

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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report Finland (details see Bibliography)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO