Spring semester is almost done and summer is waiting. May Day (Vappu) is a typical sign for many students in Finland that academic year is finally completed and school work is done until next September. Cheers and so long! However many students are using summer for studies. I think studying during the summer break is more common these days than in the past. Universities offer also a diverse range of courses during the summer time. Summer school in sport sciences is one example of a course which can be taken during the summer break. For myself never-ending and slowly starting master’s thesis project is something what I need to work with during the upcoming summer. Hopefully I manage to arrange some time also for my thesis besides changing diapers. On paper summer is good time to focus on thesis writing because the courses are not “disturbing”. In practice it can be extremely challenging to sit on the computer when there is sunny and +25 Celsius outside. But hey let’s try.
The first study year in SpoSMaPro programme offered several interesting courses which provided extensive knowledge about sport sciences and tools to develop professional skills in the field of sports. My personal conception about the sports and physical activity has evolved notably and I have adopted new viewpoints to observe issues in the field of sports. Relationship between sport and society is certainly multifaceted and the role of public sector is one of the most interesting research subjects I have faced during the first study year. The role of public sector in organizing sport is versatile and challenging. Implementing government’s aims to grass roots level is demanding. One reason for this is funding. State’s sport budget is only a minor part of total funding of Finnish sport and physical activity. The main responsibility of organizing sport and physical activity lies on shoulders of volunteers and municipalities. Therefore they have decision making power and government’s aims remains often in the background.
Finnish government can affect overall sport policy implementation through funding (limited funds, limited power), communicating and promoting their aims and using legislation. Legislation is the most efficient sport policy implementation tool and it reflects clearly the national sport policy aims. Proposal for new sports act was published 18.3.2014 so it is obviously burning topic in Finnish sport policy. The main purpose of the latest sports act is to enhance sports and physical activity among all citizens, improve overall wellbeing, health and physical capacity, growth and development of children and youth, civic and club activity related to sports, elite sports and overall sportsmanship and ethical principles. These objectives require strengthening position and status of sport services as basic services. This aim is also written in government platform. The only way to put into practice this type of development is to legislate it clearly.
Current economic situation is challenging from this viewpoint because adding more responsibilities to municipalities which have difficulties take care of all their existing duties would be more than complicated. Last sports act was from year 1998. There has been economic “fat days” between 1998 and present day so why new sports act was not published when implementing its purposes was actually possible? Is this passive role of past governments a sign about importance of sports and physical activity among Finnish decision makers? Hopefully future governments will show increasing interest towards developing sports and physical culture in Finland. This is necessary if Finland really want to achieve current government’s vision to be the sportiest nation by the year 2020. Try to forget sport policy issues for a while and enjoy summer breeze! Following statement is often reality for students but also for politicians.
“So many books, so little time.”