Defining and Measuring the Relevance of Higher Education in Finland: Promoting Sustainable Employment through Policy Levers

Publication: ThesisMaster's thesis


The study aims to contribute to the body of research on relevance of higher education by examining how state authorities in Finland, through steering instruments, promote the employment of graduates. Through a qualitative approach comprised of desk research and stakeholder interviews, the study explores the aspects of relevance considered important in Finnish higher education, the extent to which relevance as preparation for sustainable employment is reflected in the steering initiatives of the government, and the effectiveness of policy levers in creating relevance for the labour market. Results reveal that the role of higher education in preparing students for employment has gained importance over the years, and this has been positively reflected in education policy. Regulation and funding are regarded as the most effective measures in directing institutions to strengthen links with the working life. Overall, policy levers were found to have enhanced institutions’ orientation towards the labour market; however, their effectiveness has been perceived to be limited by lack of systematic evaluation and impact assessment. The study provides an example of how the relevance of higher education can be fostered via means of state steering, illustrates the enabling and inhibiting factors in achieving policy effectiveness, and advances practical recommendations for bolstering the capacity of policy levers to promote relevance for students, employers, and society at large.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University for Continuing Education Krems
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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