Research Projects at CELE

The work of the researchers of CELE is organized by the ongoing research projects.

Ongoing research projects

Oppilasvalikointi kaupunkikouluissa / Pupil selection in urban comprehensive schools

Rahoittaja: Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö, perusopetuksen laadun ja tasa-arvon kehittämisohjelma Oikeus oppia (11/2020–12/2021)

Hankkeessa selvitetään, missä laajuudessa peruskoulut valikoivat oppilaitaan Suomen suurimmissa kaupungeissa 2020-luvun alussa. Missä määrin peruskouluissa on pysyviä opetusryhmiä, jonne lapset valikoidaan muulla kuin asuinpaikkaan perustuvalla lähikouluosoituksella ja millaisia pääsykriteerejä opetusryhmiin käytetään ala- ja yläkouluissa?

Aineistona käytetään (lv. 2020-2021) (i) kaupunkien ja koulujen internetsivuilta kerättyjä dokumentteja oppilaaksioton periaatteista kouluihin ja painotetun opetuksen luokille, sekä 11 kaupungista kerätään (ii) kysely opetusryhmien määristä ja rinnakkaisluokkien ryhmittelyperiaatteista ala- ja yläkoulussa ja (iii) oppilasrekisteriaineisto 7. luokkalaisista (anonymisoidusti).

Aineistoa analysoidaan yhdistämällä dokumenttiaineistoa ja oppilasrekisteriaineistoa koulutasolla ja jos mahdollista opetusryhmätasolla. Hankkeessa pyritään saamaan kokonaiskäsitys siitä, millaista ja minkä laajuista oppilasvalikointia kaupungeissa ja kouluissa käytetään.

Tutkimusryhmä: Piia Seppänen, Terhi Pasu, Sonja Kosunen ja Sonia Lempinen

Yhteyshenkilö: Professori Piia Seppänen, projektin vastuullinen johtaja


Hollowing Out of Public Education Systems? Private Actors in Compulsory Schooling in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand (HOPES)

Hollowing Out of Public Education Systems? Private Actors in Compulsory Schooling in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand (HOPES)

Funded by the Academy of Finland (01.09.2017–31.08.2022)

The HOPES research project investigates growing private sector involvement in public education comparing three small countries with historically strong public education systems: Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. In Finland privatisation may be just beginning to emerge, and in Sweden and New Zealand the private sector has already become more involved. We will analyse private interests and actors from websites, policy documents, and interviews. The HOPES project will contribute to international debates about the nature and impact of the private sector involvement in education and the emergence of a so-called ‘Global Education Industry’. It will also inform policymakers, professionals and the public in Finland and beyond.

The research project involves research teams in each country and supports international mobility.

Research Group: Piia Seppänen, Sonia Lempinen, Nina Nivanaho, Iida Kiesi, Lisbeth Lundahl, Linda Rönnberg, Martin Thrupp, Darren Powell and John O’Neill

Contact Person

Professor Piia Seppänen, Principal Investigator (PI)

Read more

Higher Education Graduates' Employability and Social Positioning in the Labour Market (HighEmploy)

Higher Education Graduates' Employability and Social Positioning in the Labour Market

Our study will explore higher education graduates’ employability as a relational and socially mediated process. It will take into account the supply and demand of graduates, and positional competition inherent in graduate labour market. We will analyse HE graduates’ social positioning in the labour market by examining the level of a degree (Bachelor’s/Master’s), institutional setting (research university/university of applied sciences), disciplinary fields, and the location of the institution (Eastern/Western Finland), as well as how gender, age and social background contribute to and intersect with graduate employability. In addition, we will follow graduates’ early labour market trajectories, transitions and mobility in the field of business studies.

The project is funded by the Academy of Finland as a consortium between the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Turku, between 2018 and 2022.

The members of the research group from CELE: Mikko Aro, Nina Haltia, Hanna Nori, Kristiina Ojala

Contact Person

Associate Professor Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, Principal Investigator (PI)

Project webpage

Education Systems, Learning and Social Change: A Comparative Longitudinal Study on Young People's Educational Trajectories and Learning of the 21st Century Skills in Europe, Australia, South America and North America (EduSys)

Education Systems, Learning and Social Change

Funded by the Academy of Finland (01.09.2017–31.08.2021)

The project is a part of the worldwide study, International Study of City Youth (, in which young people’s educational trajectories and learning of 21st century skills are followed up in eleven countries and twelve cities over a four-year period. The aim of the project is to analyse how different education systems generate both effectiveness and equality with regard to transition to work, further study or training, and individual capacity to participate actively in economic, social and political life. The research project will enable us to gain worldwide longitudinal knowledge about preconditions and opportunities for learning and thus enable one to rethink the functions and designs of education systems. The research project emerges from the work conducted within IRNYET research network (International Research Network on Youth Education and Training.

 Research group: Tero Järvinen, Piia af Ursin, Jenni Tikkanen, Markku Vanttaja

Contact Person

Professor Tero Järvinen, Principal Investigator (PI)

Justifying the value of Social Sciences and Humanities research in society – orders of worth and impact arguments

In my TIAS project (2020–2022) my aim is to study the value of research in society from two perspectives. First, the study aims to unravel the dilemma of the technological and natural fields being the driving force in understanding research impact in society, by asking: What kind of alternative value basis could the social sciences and the humanities offer to impact discussions. Second, the study addresses the mismatch between how the role of research in society is discussed – in light of wider aims and values – and the nature and scale of impacts researchers are able to demonstrate impact for evaluation purposes. By demonstrating the subsidiary role of values and wider, diffuse and non-linear research uses to verifiable impacts in impact case studies the project aims critically to reflect on the question, what kind of research does the impact agenda encourage. Data consists of impact case studies (UK, NO, FI).

Contact person:

Collegium Researcher, Reetta Muhonen, Principal Investigator

Oppijan oikeus – Opettajan taito

>> Information

Minna Saarinen

Selected past research projects

Policies Supporting Young Adults in their Life Course. A comparative Perspective of Lifelong Learning and Inclusion in Education and Work in Europe. (YOUNG_ADULLLT)

Policies Supporting Young Adults in their Life Course

The international comparative research project (2016–2019) focuses on the current Lifelong Learning (LLL) policies for young adults in Europe, which aim both at creating economic growth and, at the same time, guaranteeing social inclusion. However, the orientations and objectives as well as varying temporal horizons of these policies may create or exacerbate conflicts and ambiguities thus causing fragmentation, ineffectiveness and unintended effects for young people. At the individual level, YOUNG_ADULLLT enquires into how policies’ fit and potentials account for young adults’ perceptions and expectations, their informal/non-formal competences, thus enabling them to create subjective meaning and continuity along their life courses. At the structural level, the project investigates the socio-economic and political conditions of the most effective policies and initiatives related to LLL, youth unemployment, and education and training for young people. Lastly, at the institutional level, it analyses the embedding of policies in the local and regional frameworks of education, training and the labour markets.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project consortium comprises 15 partner institutions from nine European countries. maasta.

The members of the research group from CELE: Risto Rinne, Jenni Tikkanen, Tero Järvinen, Heikki Silvennoinen

Contact Person

Project Researcher Jenni Tikkanen

Transitions and Educational Trajectories of Immigrant Youth: A 4-year Longitudinal Study from Compulsory to Further Education (OTHER)

Transitions and Educational Trajectories of Immigrant Youth

Research project follows the educational trajectories of immigrant youth using a longitudinal design. The aim of the study is to describe holistically the post-compulsory transitions, experiences and obstacles comparing those to the situation of the native counterparts. The follow-up will be performed using focus and thematic interviews and a survey repeated biannually. The researchers of this consortium are working at two schools in Metropolitan area of Helsinki and at two schools in Turku region serving at the same time as correspondents committing the young people with the study as well as analysing the local practices and school cultures. The research consortium comprises of researchers of sociology of education, educational science and special education in University of Helsinki and University of Turku.

Contact Person

Professor Joel Kivirauma, project leader of the sub-project

Trans-national Dynamics in QAE Politics of Basic Education in Brazil, Russia and China (BCR)

Funded by the Academy of Finland.

Quality Assurance and Evaluation has globally become one of the most powerful framing factors for learning. The cases of the study are the three nations of Brazil, China and Russia, often characterised as ‘future societies’. The main research objective is to explore how the intertwinement of the different factors constructs the local dynamics in QAE politics and thus shapes local learning environments in the case countries. The research consortium brings together three prominent Finnish research environments in the field of comparative sociology and politics of education, and two centres of excellence. The expertise of the team covers a fresh theoretical approach (CADEP) to education politics and profound experience in research in education policy and governance. The team will be vitally supported by one eminent Professor and one Doctoral Student from each case country. If successful, the project may open up avenues for reforming policies but also for education consultancy and export.

Consortium Research Project
Prof. Hannu Simola, University of Helsinki, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Responsible Head of
Consortium and Helsinki Team
Prof. Tuomas Takala, School of Education, University of Tampere, Responsible Head of Tampere Team
Prof. Risto Rinne, CELE, Department of Education, University of Turku, Responsible Head of Turku Team

Governance of Educational Trajectories in Europe (GOETE)

The GOETE project is concerned with understanding

  • how education systems deal with the changing relation between education and social integration in the knowledge society
  • how successful educational systems are in providing meaningful and secure life chances for young people, well-prepared work force for the economy and active citizens for society

Aim is to analyse in eight countries:

  • educational experiences and pathways of children and young people
  • role of different actors and institutions in supporting, governing and shaping these pathways

Researchers: Risto Rinne, Tero Järvinen, Mikko Aro, Jenni Tikkanen, Suvi Mäkinen & Andreas Walther, Karin Amos, Alenka Kobolt, Sjoerd Karsten, Ilse Julkunen, Andy Biggart, Roger Dale, Susan Robertsson, Patricia Loncie, Isabelle Danic, Morena Cucunato, Yuri Kazepov, Bodhan Jung, Barbara Sauber

European Universities for Entrepreneurship (EUEREK)

Funded by European Union.

This project has examined the internal workings of universities, and how they are affected by their respective national planning and funding arrangements. It has identified steps that can be taken to improve their effectiveness as knowledge producers and transmitters in Europe today and in the future. The project has compared development in seven countries: UK, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Russia and Moldova.

Researchers: Risto Rinne & Jenni Koivula, CELE
& Gareth Williams, Mike Shattock, Jóse-Ginés Mora, Marek Kwiek, Bruce Henry Lambert, Paul Temple, Igor Kitaev, Petru Gaugash, Sergei Filonovich, Görel Strömqvist, Aljona Sandgren

Power, Supranational Regimes and New University Management in Finland

Funded by the Academy of Finland.

This study analyses institutionalised operating logics of power constructed through modes of governance and management in Finnish universities. There are three main questions:

  • how have these new modes been traveling and embedding?
  • what kind of new discursive and non-discursive practices and symbolic power relations are they
    reconstructing and reshaping
  • what are their effects in reproduction of what is seen as true knowledge and correct ethos in the
    Finnish university?

We are approaching our questions in three levels:

  • the supranational level (especially EU Higher Education Policy)
  • the national level (the Finnish HE policy and governance)
  • the university level (four case universities in Finland).

Historically point comes from the turning point of Finnish university policy since late 1980s until 2007.

Researchers: Risto Rinne, Arto Jauhiainen, Markku Vanttaja, Johanna Kallo, Annukka Jauhiainen, Anne Laiho & Reeta Lehto, CELE
& Hannu Simola, Jaakko Kauko & Mari Simola, KUPOLI, University of Helsinki

Parents and School Choice - Family Strategies, Segregation and Local School Policies in Finnish and Chilean Comprehensive Schooling (PASC)

Funded by Academy of Finland, Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS), The Finnish Doctoral Programme in Education and Learning (FiDPEL), Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), Gobierno de Chile.

Chile and Finland are two clearly very different societies and cultures, but they share a common global policy trend: “parental or free school choice”. The PASC project aims to understand and explain how this transnational education policies on parental choice are mediated, transformed and transmitted, and with what effects, to the national and local levels.

Aim is to analyse school choice policies and their effects on

  • restructuring of public schooling in different national, historical and local contexts
  • segregation processes in basic education
  • families' educational strategies

Finnish team: Risto Rinne, Piia Seppänen, Sari Silmäri-Salo, Virve Sairanen (CELE) and Hannu Simola, Jaana Poikolainen, Sonja Kosunen, Mira Kalalahti, Janne Varjo (KUPOLI, University of Helsinki) Chilean team: Dagmar Raczynski Von Oppen, Alejandro Carrasco, Javier Corvalán, Carolina Flores, Manuel Tironi, Alejandra Falabell

Parents and School Choice. Family Strategies, Segregation and Local School Policies in Finnish Comprehensive Schooling (VAKOVA)

Funded by the Academy of Finland.

The subject of this study is the relationship between the educational strategies adopted by Finnish urban families in two bigger cities (Vantaa and Turku) as articulated and materialised in the schoolchoice process between the 6th and the 7th grades of the nine-year comprehensive schooling on the one hand, and the local socio-cultural and educational contexts on the other. The research group works with a versatile and large-scale research design aiming to relate family actions in pupil enrolment to pupil admission, selection mechanisms, and their segregating effects at the last stage of the nine-year comprehensive schooling in two different urban contexts: Cities of Vantaa and Turku with different kinds of school-choice policies.

Turku team: Risto Rinne, Heikki Silvennoinen, Piia Seppänen & Sari Silmäri-Salo
Helsinki team: Hannu Simola, Jaana Poikolainen, Janne Varjo, Sonja Kosunen & Mira Kalalahti

Fabricating Quality in European Education (FabQ)

Quality assurance and evaluation (QAE) is increasingly important nationally and trans-nationally in education. It may steer policy and practice at all levels and in all sectors of education in national systems.

Aim is to develop:

  • understanding of Quality assurance and evaluation (QAE) as a form of governance of basic education
  • new methodological and theoretical approaches to comparative education in Europe, combining perspectives on global policy development and their mediating effects on national and local practices.

Researchers: Risto Rinne & Mirka Mäkinen-Steng, CELE,
Hannu Simola, Janne Varjo, KUPOLI, University of Helsinki
& Jenny Ozga, Martin Lawn, Sotiria Grek, Bob Lingaard, Peter Dahler-Larsen, Christina Segerholm

OECD Education Policies: Three National Case. Longitudinal and Comparative Research on Finland, Great Britain and China

Funded by the Academy of Finland.

The three main objectives of the research project are, as follows:

  • To research the core of the OECD education policy and the change of the emphasis during the past four decades;
  • To analyze how clearly and in what respect the OECD has steered and standardized education policymaking in the nation states inside the core of the OECD (Great Britain), in the smaller states and peripheral zones (Finland) and outside the OECD (China)
  • To clarify what kind of impact different levels of involvement in the OECD has had on national education policymaking during the past four decades.

Researchers: Risto Rinne, Johanna Kallo, Sanna Niukko and Piia Seppänen
Visiting Professors Phillip Brown, University of Cardiff & Hugh Lauder, University of Bath

Educational inflation. The expansion of education and the value of degrees in Finland 1970–2008” –dissertation and the whole wider research project in the area of Economics of Education.

This project has been a very exceptional new opening in research in Finland as there has been almost no or very little research in the field. That is why the CELE work in the field of economics of education has created a great deal of discussion and new thinking of the economic meaning and results of education as well as the importance of investing in education. The concept of inflation of education and the empirical evidence of the project has been taken seriously and has had an impact in planning the education.

Skills development for realizing the workforce competence reserve (SkillsREAL)

Funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

The purpose of the study is to explore, how to best optimize the learning and competence potential of groups of adults at risk of marginalization from the labor market. The study will achieve this goal through exploring the complex relationships between 1) adult skills, characteristics and attitudes (as measured by PIAAC - The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies OECD); 2) adult participation both in (non-formal, informal, formal) learning activities and 3) in the labour market (register data). The study will seek to identify characteristics of “best practice” in adult education both within enterprises and in that offered through public sector initiatives. The potential of newer technology to enchance and make available learning experiences to adults will be in focus.

Researhers: Heikki Silvennoinen, CELE
& Tarja Tikkanen, Aslaug Grov Almås, Egil Gabrielsen, Kjersti Lundetræ, Mary Billington, Gunn Vedø, Kari Nissinen, Andreas Fejes, Stephen Billett


Finnish and Estonian Education and the New Education Policy of the European Union (SuViKo)

Funded by EAKR, Ministry of Education (Interreg IIIA –programme of Southern Finland and Estonia)

The main activities of the project are the comparative studies of the development tendencies of Finnish and Estonian education. It clarifies the effects of the supranational policy of education on the educational policy systems of Finland and Estonia. As the result of the project is a model for understanding the educational tendencies of small North-West EU countries will be created. It will as well create a co-operative network between adult education provides. The project will also survey the developmental perspectives, prerequisites and challenges of adult education on the levels of schools. The projects objectives are to increase the prerequisites of a balanced functioning of the labour market and to prevent social exclusion.

Researchers: Risto Rinne, Riina Leppänen, Markku Vanttaja, Päivi Naumanen, Marjaana Korppas, CELE
& Larissa Jõgi, Tiina Jääger and Talvi Märja, Tallinn University