Principal Paloniemi: OSAO creates individualized education
Oulu Vocational College (OSAO) creates increasingly individualized learning paths for its students. In building these paths the students’ skills and characteristics are taken into consideration even better than before. This requires recognition of the students’ prior competence.
OSAO’s Principal Jarmo Paloniemi feels the trend toward tailored education and compiling a personal curriculum for each student are excellent ideas—for many reasons. “This way the education we provide is more flexible and takes the student’s needs into consideration better. It is also good that most of the studies take place at workplaces through apprenticeship contracts,” he notes.
Principal Paloniemi emphasizes that making education more individualized also means providing more support for those students that need it. At the same time the students spend less time in the classroom and they are able to begin working quicker—which benefits all parties involved. “We educate our students for a vocation and further studies,” Principal Paloniemi summarizes.
About 10,000 students
OSAO on is a multi-field vocational college that provides education for about 10,000 youths and adults. It has units in Kempele, Liminka, Oulu, Muhos, Pudasjärvi, and Taivalkoski. The vocational college offers a broad palette of education— vocational qualification, further qualification, and specialist qualification in many fields.
In addition, at OSAO it is possible to improve competence through supplementary training, company-specific training, and short courses.
OSAO offers education in countless different fields. However, the main emphasis is on technology, communication, and transport—about half of the students study in these areas. Their age distribution is also broad: a large share of the vocational qualification students are young, while many of those seeking specialist qualification are well into their middle age.
According to Principal Jarmo Paloniemi, the rate of employment of OSAO graduates is at a good level. This speaks of the high quality of the education. Indeed, he says that OSAO gives its students a good foundation for life, as long as they have a good attitude toward life.
“Students have thanked us both for the high level and individualization of the education we provide and for having been able to enjoy studying at OSAO. We also have good cooperation with companies,” Paloniemi notes.
Individualization is currently a strong theme in the development of OSAO’s education, but not the only one. Digitalization and robotics, for example, are also strongly present in the content and implementation of the education— just as they are in the work that the students begin to do upon graduating.