The OKKA Foundation for Teaching, Education and Personal Development is a non-profit foundation supporting the educational sector. Its background organisations are The Trade Union of Education in Finland OAJ, Association for OAJ’s Vocational Educators and Trainers OAO, and Early Childhood Education Teachers Union of Finland (ECE Teachers Union).
The mission of the OKKA Foundation is to act for the development and augmentation of influence and valuation of the teaching and education field, to promote scientific research of the field, and to support arts education.
The OKKA Foundation organises training and study trips, awards grants and acknowledgements, practices publication activity, and supports sustainability work of educational institutions by training, consulting and guidance and awarding sustainable development certificates.
Training activities of the OKKA Foundation are focused on strenghtening teachers’ working life contacts, promoting internationalization, and maintaining and developing their professional skills by providing opportunities for participating in additional training and development projects.
Examples of training activities
- Summer schools in co-operation with the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes
- Projects for Swedish language teachers
- Seminars for Vocational Education Teachers
- Culture competitions
Grants and acknowledgements
The application period is annually in March. The OKKA Foundation awards grants for teachers’ additional trainings, research and development projects, and study trips. Grants can be awarded to individual persons or work groups. In addition, special acknowledgements are awarded to commendable teachers. Annually, the OKKA Foundation receives 200-300 applications. A total sum of 40 000 – 50 000 euros is awarded to 40-50 grant recipients.
The Journal of Professional and Vocational Education publishes articles and reviews on the theory and practice of vocational education and training written in Finnish, Swedish and English. The publication has four issues per year. It follows a double-blind review process and is classified as type 1 (basic) scientific publication in the Publication Forum Project.
Education for sustainable development
The OKKA Foundation has established its status as a recognized expert on education for sustainable development. The foundation has a large cooperation network and participates in the national and international projects developing sustainability education. The Foundation is a deputy member of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development.
Since 2004, the foundation has maintained the Finnish national Sustainable Development Certification of Educational Establishments. The certification system is applicable to comprehensive and upper secondary schools, vocational institutions and liberal adult education. The criteria, evaluation tools and supporting material of the system enable educational institutions to self-evaluate and develop their management, teaching and operational culture from the perspective of sustainability.
The system enables external audit and applying for the certificate from the OKKA Foundation. By March 2018, the foundation has awarded the sustainable development certificate to 100 educational institutions. The foundation has trained a nation-wide auditor network which is responsible for the external audits. The auditor network also supports development of the quality of education and operation of educational institutions and promotes dissemination of best practices between organisations. The OKKA Foundation supports educational institutions in their sustainability work by training, consulting and guidance.
The certification system has a permanent basic funding from the Ministry of Education. Part of the operation is financed by the OKKA Foundation, and development of the system is based on project funding.