Chair of the Commission Head of the Project Management Office Education Division / City of Turku
Vice Chair of the Learning Cities Commission
School dropouts and absenteeism present a significant risk of social exclusion, and when they are combined with problems in basic skills, there is an extreme danger of a vicious circle of exclusion. Basic skill deficiencies can also be a major obstacle for adult participation in society and working life. Education is the best way to combat the social exclusion of children, young persons and adults and face the contemporary and future challenges. When we combine here other social and environmental risks, challenges and wicked problems we are facing right now and in the near future, we can be sure that we need new innovations in education to help present and future generations to create solutions and innovations that will save the planet and humanity.
A new Learning Cities Commission (established April 2022) is a significant tool in improving the joint collaboration of UBC cities in their work on these issues. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) education and other new innovative education practices together with different forms of support and guidance systems, for instance, guide children, young people and adults into the individual educational paths leading to high employability, meaningful life and new innovations. These practices can also offer, for example, learning-by-doing options for those who struggle with regular, theory-oriented classroom study.
The new commission is built on the work done by a former UBC Task Force for Supporting Youth Employment and Well-Being, which original mission was to create an UBC program to prevent youth social exclusion. The Task Force also produced an extensive follow-up report on the program, carried out several parts of its action plan (dissemination of best practices, joint projects, study visits, workshops and meetings), and organized a UBC Youth Guarantee seminar in Brussels in collaboration with the European Committee of the Regions.