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2018/11/09 9:00am

English-language teaching expands in Vaasa

The number of students able to study for their basic education using the English language will double in Vaasa when a line of English-language teaching is established alongside the existing bilingual teaching line. The expansion will begin in Autumn 2019 by combining the teaching of classes 1.-2. at Suvilahti School.

Head of Education, Kari Nummela, explains that expanding the English-language teaching line is in response to hard pressure, which has only increased year on year.

- The greatest demand for English-language teaching is from families in Vaasa, who emphasize the importance of English language skills in the future regarding studying and working life. In addition, English-language education is being sought by international families and representatives of the University of Vaasa and the business community, Nummela explains.

At present, large-scale bilingual (English-Finnish) teaching is organised at the Suvilahti Primary School and the Merenkurku Secondary School.

- This line currently has 185 pupils studying in Grades 1-9. When the new line is fully completed in 2025, the number of pupils being taught in English will double to about 370 pupils, says Nummela.

New facilities will be needed in 2023

The proportion of English-language teaching on the new line will be higher than at present. For example, in the sixth grade, the proportion of English-language teaching on the new line will be 60 per cent, compared to 40 per cent on the current line.

- The teaching complies with the Finnish curriculum and the language of instruction is mainly English. The mother tongue of a student can be Finnish, Swedish or another language, says Regional Director Johanna Olsson, who has chaired a working group for expanding English teaching.

The current and new English-language curriculum together form a whole, and one group of teachers is added to the whole year annually. The expansion will begin in autumn 2019 as a combined class-teaching of classes 1-2.

- The first four years can be at the current premises of the Suvilahti School, but in the autumn of 2023, the expansion of operations will require new facilities. It is important for the organisation of teaching and public transport connections that new premises can be found in the city centre or close by, Olsson explains.

Internationality and multilingualism play an important role in Vaasa

Kari Nummala believes that the addition of English-language teaching also increases Vaasa's appeal as an attractive workplace.

-Vaasa is a strong international city and we want to offer even greater English-language instruction to children of international families. Also, in the city of Vaasa, internationality and multilingualism play an important role.

The Education and Teaching Board will decide on this matter at its meeting on 14.11.