The number of students of immigrant origin is growing at a fast rate in schools located in suburban areas of Helsinki. Next autumn, 50 out of 60 pupils starting the seventh grade at the Mylllypuro comprehensive schools will speak a language other than Finnish as their mother-tongue. There has not been an even distribution of immigrants throughout the Helsinki area creating situations in which certain schools are predominantly immigrant in terms of the student body. During the period 2001 through 2006, Helsinki launched an Urban Project that was funded by the European Union.
According to Anneli Luotonen, principal of the Myullpuro lower secondary school, “the project enabled supervision and monitoring, making it possible to keep the pupils at school.” School social workers helped resolve bullying issues, and dealt with conflict resolution while working to build a sense of solidarity among students coming from differing backgrounds. Money was used to build an Internet cafe and IT courses were even arranged for parents. Naturally, since the project was working, funding was cut off. Why is it when schools finally come up with ideas that work, the funding soon ceases?