Pirkko Ruuskanen-Parrukoski

CEO of the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation (KVS) (Finland)

Nominated by: Finnish Adult Education Association (FAEA)

Pirkko Ruuskanen-Parrukoski

I am working as a Chief Executive officer (CEO) at KVS, The Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation. KVS is a member of the Finnish Adult Education Association (FAEA) and an associate member of EAEA. KVS has 143 years of history in adult education in Finland and over the years also international work and cooperation has become stronger and more and more important. We believe in dialogue and learning as the basis in building the society a better place to live for individuals.

Main aim in KVS’ work is to foster lifelong learning through the publishing of online media both in Finland and in Europe, the publishing of a scientific Adult Education Journal, building media literacy as a civic skill and connecting internationally via different projects. KVS also facilitates the Communications Unit of EAEA. We also maintain the Kulkuri School of Distance Education for Finnish expatriate children and youth to keep up their mother language skills as well as to strengthen their cultural identity. The school offers professional teaching in various compulsory school subjects in the National Curriculum.

My educational background consists of a Nurse educator’s degree and a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences. I am just about to complete my PhD research in social politics. I have been a member of the Board of the Finnish Adult Education Association (FAEA) since 2007. The member of the EAEA Executive Board I have been 2011–2013, and between 2016-2017 replacing Tapio Kujala.

In adult education, I have been working in vocational education and in popular education sectors. In vocational education, I have worked as a teacher in social, and as a principal in social and health care college, and as a head of the unit in the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences. In the liberal adult education sector, I have worked in NGOs like in the Finnish Federation of Settlement houses. The work there included mostly policy advocacy work for the popular adult education institutes.

How do you want to contribute to the work of EAEA, based on your experience in your organisation?

Besides having the knowledge of education and training, having a long experience in working with the issues of social justice and social cohesion, being a member of the EAEA Board would make a useful add to my contribution for the work of EAEA. Also through my research I have gained understanding of the important role of the adult education in one´s participation in the society and in preventing social exclusion. That knowledge I am prepared to share as an EAEA Board member.

I see important that the expertise provided by KVS as well as FAEA is available for the EAEA

1) for advocacy through the connections to the EU Parliament and the Finnish authorities in the Ministry of Education;

2) for providing and sharing of grass root and national level information about the needs and results of adult education, as well as in development work of EAEA;

3) for supporting the communication work of EAEA, as having expertise on communication in the field of adult education. I also see the publications of KVS as a useful tool to disseminate EAEA's policy advocacy work, both on projects and in cooperation with partners.

What are your motivations as a board member?

I am willing to contribute my experience and knowledge as well as networks to the EAEA for its work to promote adult education.

I see the EAEA board as a team. I feel that my responsibility is to work for that team from the Finnish adult education point of view to enhance EAEA as a whole. There are many things to be learned from each other and in that way to build even stronger EAEA. The EAEA Board can benefit from my connections to MEPs, the European Commission and national decision-makers and above all the members in EU and outside EU. I think that we do need a united Europe more than ever and I see that every connection and every move we do towards it is important. In that work adult education is one of the best instruments. I am willing to work for that.

More specifically, I am looking forward to continue the strategic work that has been started in EAEA. In the strategy we, the members, should have a shared view and road map on how to build the future of EAEA.

Which other information about you would you like to share with the EAEA members?

Adult education and EAEA – what a wonderful reason to come to Girona!