The Finnish Minister of Education, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, rejected calls by the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (Etla) to allow universities to introduce fees.

Grahn Laasonen said on Monday that introducing fees was against the programme of the (liberal) National Coalition Party (NCP) and the coalition government’s programme. Her objections were echoed by the Center Party of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.

On Friday, the Institute of the Finnish Economy proposed fees as a remedy in recent cuts in research and education, factors on which Finnish growth depends. In a press release on Friday, the institute proposed “reasonable tuition fees,” limiting business subsidies that do not encourage innovation and divesting assets from central governance to improve research and teaching.

The Finnish economy is expected to grow by 1,2% in 2017, that is, less than the Eurozone average. Although Finnish unemployment continues to slide, growth remains stagnant for little under a decade, while public debt is gradually surging. That is despite a “blood-and-tears” austerity programme that includes cuts in the world famous Finnish education, the slashing of holiday and weekend overpay or sick leave. Choices have become increasingly harder, while Finland is trying to ringfence one of the most appraised educational systems in the world.

Choices have become increasingly harder, as Finland is trying to ringfence one of the most appraised educational systems in the world.