Monika Popper 0

Help us prevent Espoo City actions disrupting International Music Lessons in Espoo

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In Autumn 2017 the Espoo City Council decided to introduce English as the language of service. Fantastic news for the non-Finnish speaking community who applauded the decision! In August 2018 the City commissioned a service design Agency to organise a workshop “Living and working in Espoo” in order to consult foreign residents on the development of most urgent services. Education and hobbies in English were repeatedly reported by the participants. Two weeks later the participants were also invited to provide additional information “about the needs and typical challenges faced by Espoo residents who are in need of city services in English” through an online survey. Fast forward two years and families are still struggling to find hobbies for their children in English.

When our family was on a quest to find kids’ activities in English we came across the International School of Music (ISM). Our boys were not too keen on learning an instrument but since the options were scarce we had to give it a go. ISM is the only English-speaking music school offering lessons in Espoo. They do so at the pupil’s preferred location and time to meet individual needs of every family. We love the convenience and our children are now happy with their choice of instruments, their teachers, concerts and the ABRSM certification exams organised by ISM. Unfortunately, the school is having difficulties to obtain a licence from Espoo City, which jeopardises the school’s ability to continue providing services in Espoo (see a dedicated ISM newsletter for detailed description of the situation).

I still choose to believe that Espoo is a great destination for foreign talents and their families. I hope this is just an oversight from the City's officials and public money is not being spent on participatory decision-making approaches just to create an illusion for external observers. For this reason I would like to invite other members of the international community to express their interest in having access to international music lessons offered by ISM in Espoo, in particular, and to help influence the culture of inclusion and equality towards international communities, in general.

Finally, I hope that the City of Espoo responds positively to this request, driven by the notably growing demand for ISM’s services in Espoo (as well as the City's own promise to deliver such), and the ISM will be granted a Licence for Basic Education in the Arts so that it can continue providing excellent quality music teaching to English-speaking residents at the same cost as Finnish-speaking schools. Music is for everyone!

With thanks and kindest regards,

Monika Popper – a mum of two ISM students

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