Finnish education export to developing countries on the rise – new batch of students graduate from Finnish entrepreneurship programme in Uganda

FCA College provides entrepreneurship education to refugees in Uganda.
Regina Meta, 18, studies in Finnish entrepreneurship programme at Rwamwanja refugee settlement in Uganda.

Finn Church Aid (FCA) exports Finnish vocational diplomas to Uganda in cooperation with education export company Omnia Education Partnerships (OEP).

The diploma in question is an official Finnish vocational diploma, equivalent in its requirements to a Finnish secondary degree diploma.

The training programme is currently provided at a refugee settlement in Uganda. The first group obtaining Finnish entrepreneurship diploma at Rwamwanja refugee settlement are graduating on March 28, 2019.

There are more refugees in the world than ever, and it is estimated that only one in five will receive a secondary degree education. The average length of displacement is 20 years.

“What makes this programme exceptional is the fact that refugees are able to obtain a diploma while they are displaced, which helps them find employment already during displacement. A secondary degree education that is offered in crisis areas decreases dependence on aid and provides support where it is most needed”, says Tomi Järvinen, Director of International Cooperation at FCA.

In Uganda, FCA and OEP currently provide vocational diplomas in entrepreneurship. In the future, the plan is to also provide vocational qualification in education and instruction. The programme welcomes refugees as well as Ugandans to participate in the training.

Regina Meta, 18, fled to Uganda from Congo with her mother and sister in 2016, and is now studying in the Finnish entrepreneurship programme. With confidence gained from the programme, the young woman has opened her own hair salon, which is now among the most popular in the refugee settlement.

“Hairstyling has always been my passion. Thanks to the programme, I have learned a lot, especially about how to interact with clients. These days, I get lots of new clients based on the recommendations by my old clients”, Regina says.

Thanks to legislation that came into force in Finland last year, all vocational education providers have the opportunity to export vocational education, either as complete diploma programmes or as parts of them.

The reform is an important step forward for the export of Finnish education, and also a new form of sustainable development cooperation. It reinforces the ability of refugees to pursue their livelihood.

The project is a pilot that can be later used to provide vocational training in other refugee settings.

More information:

Ville Wacklin, Project Manager, tel. +358 40 719 0592

Tomi Järvinen, Director of International Cooperation, tel. +358 40 641 8209

Read more about FCA College here.

Translation: Leena Vuolteenaho