Nurmeksen lukio is a small and dynamic upper secondary school situated in a small, rural town in the northernmost corner of East Finland. The area suffers from high unemployment and emigration of especially young skilled people, thus having an aging majority population. Nurmeksen lukio aims to provide varied, up-to-date secondary education to young people and it also offers Open university courses and evening classes not for only its own students but for the wider public in the area.
Nurmeksen lukio wants to educate its students for the international studying and working life. Thus it has organized study trips abroad earlier. This Comenius project would bring added European value to the curriculum not to mention international co-operation and interpersonal contacts to the students. The special role of Nurmeksen lukio in this project is to host the last student meeting focusing on national and European identities. There is also a local minority of Carelian people, who moved to the area after the WW2. Their culture and religion has influenced the local dialect, cuisine, architecture and the way of life in general. At the moment they are struggling to maintain their own language. It would be interesting to study the topic in this setting. Naturally, the students of Nurmeksen lukio will also travel to other meetings as well.
There have been expressions of feeling marginalized and distanced from the rest of Europe in Finland recently, the question of a European identity being sometimes even somewhat irrelevant to the local people in Nurmes. Face-to-face living contacts with peers during the project would increase the significance of European co-operation and highlight the dimension of European identity to the students of Nurmeksen lukio. Through the young people, awareness of European unity will spread to their friends and families, especially when hosting the student meeting. The students will also practise and develop their ICT, negotiation and presentation skills. They will also learn to plan and carry out small scale research projects. Taking part in the project will make the whole school more aware of the European educational field and the importance of co-operation. There will be a link to the project on the school web site and the products will be presented at the school (notice boards, internal information screens eg.) It is hoped that this will be a start of lasting network of co-operating schools.