Asian Berry Pickers & School Children Conned

Too many hard-working Asians are being seduced by the promise of high wages to pick berries in our Finnish forests. The reality for many is that they end up performing back-breaking work 7 days a week for more than 12 to 14 hours a day in mosquito-infested cold wet forests – in conditions that no Finn would ever dream of doing.

Many such workers are forced to rent low level basic accommodation that few Finns would accept, and many must buy cheap second-hand cars to get to the forest and swamps with all the costs that entails.

Food and electricity are also charged by their masters. The result for many is that after 3 to 4 months of hard work, they get to take home much less than what was promised. Since they get paid by what they collect from the forest there is no guarantee that they will end up with a nest egg! In other words, the employers will earn something from the work of the Asians, while the latter bear all the risks and costs!

Naturally there are honest employers, but media reports paint a dire picture – there appears to be plenty of the wrong types who are just too happy to take advantage of these people’s plight.

Now we have another rent-seeking business that has started to appear that takes advantage of Asian parents who want their children to be well-educated.

Finland has a high-quality school system that is almost free for Finns, as well as having universities and other tertiary colleges as low-cost places of study.

The provision of schools are the responsibility municipalities which vary in size from large cities, with hundreds of thousands of residents, to small municipalities with less than ten thousand. The government pays each municipality a grant for each student of between €7 000 to some €18 000 depending on the size and needs of the municipality. The system has been developed for decades and has given Finland a fantastic education system that promotes knowledge and equality of opportunity. Finland has a great standard of living that enjoys a knowledgeable and conscientious population. It is also a very safe country…

Now, a businessman has started a business to attract young Asian teenagers to study “for free” in Finland’s schools, with another promise that success in the sixth-form exams can open the doors to our low-cost universities. The catch is that the students’ parents must pay a fee of more than €5000 to start to learn the basics of the Finnish language in their home country so the children can attend a Finnish school where all the subjects are taught in Finnish.

The parents must also pay the full cost of travel and full board, which are also in the thousands of Euros. Thus, the final costs are huge, as are the risks facing these children. At the end of the day the Finnish children and taxpayers also end up with harmful and unnecessary costs and risks…

No school in any thriving municipality city is interested in taking such children because they require too much support. The only municipalities that are interested in participating are typically tiny villages that have too few children for their existing schools. They are offered the chance to keep the loss-making schools open with these hapless students. Having these Asian children attending schools sounds like a life-saver, but it is far from that. The children are starved of company, have serious problems understanding what is being taught, and the municipality has soaring costs because they must employ more support staff to get the children through their courses.

Finnish is a tiny language that is demanding to learn and of little use for Asians if they later decide to work elsewhere than in Finland.

No child can learn Finnish abroad in a few months to be able to perform and pass the rigorous school syllabus in Finland – there may be a few exceptional students, but experience shows otherwise. Fluency requires several years of learning and is best attained when learning from a very early age…

Finnish students at these small village schools also suffer from a confusing environment where teachers and support staff are switching between English and Finnish so that the Asian children make progress. Part of the government grants are withheld if the Asian children fail their exams at the end of the school year. These children also face instant dismissal if they fail to make progress at school because there is no obligation to provide education to non-resident foreigners.

Finland has many thousands of school children with a foreign family background who are residents of Finland. Most of them have been born here and speak fluent Finnish or Swedish. Others who come here as refugees and have received special lessons from skilled teachers who have years of experience at teaching Finnish as a second language.

This a long-term challenge that requires staff that is seldom available in small, isolated villages where the local population is falling in numbers. Such places are typically populated by an aging population where work opportunities are limited to jobs in the public sector, in cafes and small shops, where schools are being closed because there are too few children.

The business case for bringing teenage Asian students to Finland for a fee is based on taking advantage of the strong Asian belief in having your children well-educated so that they can later provide for themselves and their families. The business case is also based on the fallacy that the Finnish government’s education subsidy is designed for encouraging businessmen to profit by selling places in Finnish schools to foreigners! This was certainly never the reasons for setting up our national education system. The whole business is a rent-seeking scam based on idle promises, and certainly not something that Finnish taxpayers should pay for.

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