All Finnish higher education insti­tu­tions prepared an acces­si­bility plan in 2022. The prepa­ration of the plans is based on a report by the Ministry of Education and Culture published in 2021: Kohti saavutet­tavampaa korkeak­oulu­tusta ja korkeak­oulua (Ministry of Education and Culture 2021, in Finnish). The publi­cation presents objec­tives and policies for promoting acces­si­bility for all those working in the higher education insti­tution, but especially those belonging to under­rep­re­sented and minority groups. The factors behind the exami­nation of acces­si­bility include family background, regional acces­si­bility of higher education, gender segre­gation, migration background, functional diffi­culty or disability, belonging to a linguistic or cultural minority, different kind of learning style and belonging to a sexual or gender minority.

The acces­si­bility criteria developed in the national OHO project (The Inclusive Higher Education Network 2019) are used as the structure of Karelia’s plan. The criteria are divided into the following areas:

  • Values, attitudes and culture
  • Management
  • Physical environment
  • Digital acces­si­bility
  • Teaching and learning
  • Support and guidance
  • Commu­ni­cation
  • Student selection

The plan describes the current state of Karelia’s acces­si­bility and measures to promote acces­si­bility in 2022–2024. The plan will be updated in 2024 for the next target agreement period 2025–2028.

Karelia’s acces­si­bility plan has been prepared as an inclusive process for the university community.  We have carried out preparatory work in co-operation with the persons respon­sible for the different areas of the plan and experts. The staff worked on the plan at the staff meeting. With regard to students, the preparatory work was carried out in co-operation with the student union POKA’s Board and repre­sen­ta­tives as well as the persons in charge of student groups (VIP students). 

This plan brings together existing plans and operating models related to acces­si­bility. We consider the equality and non-discrim­i­nation perspective in all activ­ities, and the ethical principles of the university of applied sciences are highlighted in staff orien­tation, for example. The active caring model includes tools for inter­vening in discrim­i­nation and harassment for both staff and students.  Karelia’s counselling and well-being plan discusses the matter from the perspective of teaching and studying. For years, regular meetings between the student union and Karelia have covered perspec­tives related to acces­si­bility and outlined related devel­opment measures.


(Respon­sible person Jaana Tolkki)


  • The atmos­phere at the university supports equality
  • University supports and promotes commu­nality and solidarity
  • Individ­u­ality and diversity of students is recog­nized and students are cared about
  • Students can have an impact on their own studies, as well as the teaching and opera­tions at their university
  • The opinions of students and staff are heard and they are encouraged to be active
  • Acces­si­bility is discussed at the university

Current state

At Karelia, an equality and non-discrim­i­nation plan is regularly assessed and updated. Karelia has been a discrim­i­nation-free zone since 2011. The diversity of students is considered in many ways. Commu­nality and its strength­ening have long been key objec­tives of Karelia. However, there is no systematic and regular discussion on the different areas of acces­si­bility in Karelia from the perspective of all areas of acces­si­bility. The coron­avirus pandemic and changes in the world situation have affected Karelia’s sense of community.

Target state  Measures 2023Measures 2024
– All members of the Karelia university community are aware of the policies and operating methods related to different areas of acces­si­bility, including addressing shortcomings.– Inter­active and phased processing of the different areas of acces­si­bility (4 areas).
– Inclusion of the acces­si­bility plan in the orien­tation phase of studies for all new students and orien­tation of new staff
– Inter­active and phased processing of the different areas of acces­si­bility (4 areas) 


(Respon­sible person Petri Raivo)


  • University management is officially committed to promoting acces­sible university education
  • University management is committed to promote acces­si­bility in practice
  • University practices are trans­parent and open

Current state

Acces­si­bility has not been considered in Karelia’s strategy or worded clearly. Speci­fi­cation of the respon­si­bil­ities related to acces­si­bility and inclusion is required. The university management is committed to promoting acces­si­bility. The perspec­tives of acces­si­bility and inclusion are not system­at­i­cally considered in the orien­tation of new staff. Student diversity and equality are considered at all levels. Training and coaching have been organised for staff on some themes. The assessment of acces­si­bility is not systematic. Karelia operates consis­tently in accor­dance with its strategy and values, but strategic choices are empha­sised in commu­ni­ca­tions.  Karelia’s practices are trans­parent and open. The staff know the proce­dures and instruc­tions to the extent that they have been agreed upon.

Target state  Measures 2023Measures 2024
– Karelia has clearly agreed on principles of acces­si­bility, which in practice guide the management and activ­ities of the university. The related respon­si­bil­ities have been defined and the imple­men­tation of the principles is regularly assessed.– Appointment of respon­sible persons
– Linking acces­si­bility and inclusion themes to quality management and enter­prise resource planning
– Coaching for management and immediate managers on acces­si­bility
– Defin­ition of indicators to be used in the assessment of imple­men­tation  
– Evalu­ation and devel­opment of acces­si­bility based on evalu­ation data


(Respon­sible person Jouni Varis)


  • Physical environment of the university (outdoor premises, buildings, rooms and furniture) is accessible
  • Infor­mation about the physical acces­si­bility of the university is available on the university public website
  • University has practices to ensure the staff know about the acces­si­bility and location of class­rooms and other premises
  • Physical acces­si­bility is taken into account in the rescue plan of the university

Current state

All Karelia facil­ities have been built and renovated to meet the needs of the university in the past 15 years. The perspec­tives of acces­si­bility and inclusion in the physical environment have been considered in connection with renova­tions both in connection with the premises and outdoors premises. However, access to all facil­ities is not yet acces­sible. The physical environment has also been contin­u­ously developed between major renova­tions. There are gender-neutral toilet facil­ities on both campuses and their number will be increased in connection with future renova­tions. Commu­ni­cation on the acces­si­bility and inclusion of the physical environment on campuses, in the university community and on the website is inade­quate. Physical acces­si­bility has not been considered in the rescue plan.

Target state  Measures 2023Measures 2024
– Karelia’s physical operating environment is acces­sible and inclusive.   The university community has infor­mation on the acces­si­bility and location of the facil­ities. The matter has been clearly commu­ni­cated on campuses, the community and the website.– Gender-neutral toilets will be built on the Wärtsilä campus in connection with the renovation.
– Infor­mation related to the acces­si­bility of facil­ities on the students’ Pakki portal, in Karelia’s intranet and on Karelia’s website.
– The perspec­tives of physical acces­si­bility are recorded in the rescue plan. 
– Continuous devel­opment of facil­ities related to acces­si­bility in connection with renova­tions.
– Devel­oping visual and virtual guidance related to acces­si­bility.  


(Respon­sible person Minna Rokkila)


  • Digital learning environ­ments and teaching materials are accessible
  • Teaching staff is famil­iarized with the acces­si­bility demands and receive support in using them in practice
  • Students are famil­iarized with and receive support in the use of digital learning environ­ments and learning materials
  • On-line contents of the university (e.g. intranet) are acces­sible and their usability is high
  • Students and staff can give feedback on the acces­si­bility of digital learning environ­ments and on-line contents, and the feedback has an impact
  • Digital acces­si­bility is developed purposefully

Current state

Karelia’s learning environ­ments and teaching materials are mainly acces­sible and contin­u­ously developed. There are clear guide­lines on the acces­si­bility of learning environ­ments. Teaching staff have been famil­iarised with the require­ments of digital acces­si­bility. Similar orien­tation for admin­is­trative and support service staff has not been imple­mented. Course imple­men­ta­tions require harmon­i­sation and clari­fi­cation. The content of Karelia’s intranet reformed in 2022 meets the acces­si­bility require­ments. Students receive orien­tation and support for the use of digital learning environ­ments at the beginning of their studies in the Karelia-start.  For some, completing a study unit before starting their studies is challenging, while others are unable to absorb a large amount of infor­mation in a short period of time. Students can give feedback on digital acces­si­bility and the activ­ities will be developed on this basis.

Target stateMeasures 2023 Measures 2024  
– Digital learning environ­ments and study contents are digitally and pedagog­i­cally accessible.– Consistent and acces­sible struc­tures in Moodle. Organ­ising training and support for teaching staff in the imple­men­tation of study unit templates.
– Survey for teachers on the use of systems and digital aids in teaching 
– Videos used in teaching are produced subtitled in accor­dance with the Directive on Web Accessibility
– Systematic training for teachers on the use of digital systems and aids based on a survey 


(Respon­sible person Marjo Nenonen)


  • Teaching staff has suffi­cient compe­tences to design and implement acces­sible education
  • Diverse teaching methods are used in education
  • Learning environ­ments and materials are acces­sible and appropriate
  • Students get support for devel­oping their study skills
  • Students’ individual needs are taken into account through their individual study plans (HOPS)
  • Diverse evalu­ation methods suitable for different types of learners are used in evaluation
  • Acces­si­bility is taken into account in practical training and collab­o­ration with employees

Current state

The principles for the imple­men­tation of Karelia’s education are defined in the degree regula­tions, the process descrip­tions of education, the counselling and well-being plan, the curricula and imple­men­tation plans, and Peda-akatemia’s website. Different learners are considered in the teaching and assessment of Karelia, and they are supported in devel­oping study skills. However, the attention is not systematic throughout the university. An individual study plan is drawn up for all students, consid­ering the students’ individual needs. Teacher tutors and guidance counsellors meet students regularly, and individual guidance is ensured in devel­opment discus­sions as planned. Students receive support and counselling in practical training.

Target state  Measures 2023Measures 2024
– Karelia has a shared under­standing of the principles of acces­sible pedagogy.  Different kinds of students are considered in the imple­men­tation of the education.– Defining the principles of Karelia’s acces­sible pedagogy as an inclusive process.
– Including the perspective of acces­si­bility in student feedback surveys
– Systematic utili­sation of the Peda-akatemia as part of the promotion of digital pedagogy compe­tence
– Workshops related to the diver­si­fi­cation of evalu­ation for teaching staff. 
– Devel­oping acces­si­bility and commu­nality in blended and online studies
– Systematic mapping of study skills of all new students and devel­opment of support measures based on needs


(Respon­sible persons Päivi Putkuri and Janne Väätäinen)


  • Students receive the support and guidance they need at all stages of their studies
  • Students get support and infor­mation for planning their studies
  • Students may receive individual arrange­ments all throughout their studies
  • Collab­o­ration between teaching staff and support services promotes acces­si­bility of the university
  • Acces­si­bility is taken into account in inter­na­tional training and student exchange
  • University offers enough services to support student well-being
  • Univer­sities students’ unions and organ­i­sa­tions support the promotion of accessibility
  • University library services take acces­si­bility into account

Current state

Karelia has updated its counselling and well-being plan, which is followed in different degree programmes and at different stages of studies. At the moment, we place particular emphasis on providing counselling in the final stages of studies, and supporting gradu­ation and employment. Based on student feedback, Karelia’s support services function very well when compared nationally. Students receive support and infor­mation for planning their studies. The process of special support for students has been updated and the teachers have been intro­duced to the new operating model. Student welfare services have been system­at­i­cally developed and strengthened in close co-operation with the student union POKA. Acces­si­bility require­ments are well considered in the library’s plans, and students receive individual guidance in the use of library services.

If necessary, individual guidance and additional financial support from inter­na­tional exchange funding programmes are available for students taking part in inter­na­tional exchanges.

Target state  Measures 2023 Measures 2024
– Karelia students have equal access to support services and teaching arrange­ments that meet their needs. We especially pay attention to the needs of inter­na­tional students.– Strength­ening and supporting individual counselling in the early stages of studies in language studies, mathe­matics and natural sciences studies and digital skills
– Workshops for teachers to meet different learners. Training teacher tutors in acces­si­bility matters
– Building a visual service map for counselling and well-being services
– Instruc­tions for staff will be created for S2 student learning support and language-oriented guidance.
– The student’s individual S2 needs are considered in the individual study plan (ISP)
– Clari­fi­cation of the career guidance process  
– Devel­oping counselling and study readiness before starting studies in co-operation with vocational education and training  


(Respon­sible person Rauno Jussila)


  • University commu­ni­cation promotes equality and diversity
  • University staff commu­ni­cation is accessible
  • Acces­si­bility is considered in webpage design, published materials and use of social media
  • Strategic planning of commu­ni­cation and guidance takes acces­si­bility into account
  • Staff has suffi­cient resources to implement and develop acces­sible communication

Current state

Karelia’s commu­ni­ca­tions are acces­sible as a whole and support equality and diversity. Acces­si­bility means taking people’s differ­ences and diversity into account in the planning and imple­men­tation of commu­ni­ca­tions. The devel­opment of foreign-language staff’s Finnish skills will be supported. Commu­ni­cation mainly takes place in Finnish, and the most important matters are commu­ni­cated to students in English as well.  Commu­ni­cation related to all aspects of acces­si­bility is not systematic. Acces­si­bility issues are discussed at Karelia.

Target state  Measures 2023 Measures 2024
– Commu­ni­cation in Karelia takes the diversity of students and staff into account. Acces­si­bility require­ments are also considered in external communications – Policies for Karelia’s bilingual commu­ni­cation
– The needs for devel­oping personnel compe­tence in plain language and in commu­ni­cation in English will be mapped. 
– Organ­ising commu­ni­cation clinics related to commu­ni­cation acces­sible to staff
– Commu­ni­cating to inter­na­tional partner insti­tu­tions and partners on Karelia’s accessibility 
– Organ­ising training for staff on acces­sible commu­ni­cation, plain Finnish and commu­ni­cation in English.
– Organ­ising commu­ni­cation clinics related to commu­ni­cation acces­sible to staff 
Wireless network and Connection technology concept with Abstract Bangkok city background


(Respon­sible person Pirjo Uusoksa)


  • Student selection process of the university is accessible
  • Infor­mation on student admis­sions is acces­sible to the applicant
  • Student selection infor­mation is acces­sible to the applicants
  • The results of student admis­sions are in an acces­sible format

Current state

Student selection takes place 1) through a national joint appli­cation process, which is organised three times a year and 2) on the basis of a separate appli­cation process. Karelia’s student selection processes are imple­mented in accor­dance with the national practices of univer­sities of applied sciences and in an acces­sible manner. Karelia partic­i­pates in national devel­opment work related to the appli­cation and selection system in different working groups. Acces­si­bility-related infor­mation is not easily available to those applying for or consid­ering a study place.

Target state  Measures 2023 Measures 2024
– Acces­si­bility require­ments are considered at all stages of the national joint appli­cation process for Karelia’s student selection, separate appli­cation process and the appli­cation process for co-operation studies between open univer­sities of applied sciences and higher education institutions. – Issues related to acces­si­bility are added to the Karelia website in connection with applicant infor­mation
– Work time reser­va­tions will be secured naturally for employees involved in the university entrance exami­na­tions.
– The offer of the open university of applied sciences and regis­tration for studies are clear and the start of studies is smooth – Intro­duction of a joint cross-insti­tu­tional studies service RIPA for higher education institutions.
– Work time reser­va­tions will be secured naturally for employees involved in the university entrance exami­na­tions. Increasing the number of places in the separate appli­cation process for preparatory education for university studies
– Estab­lishing the use of the cross-insti­tu­tional studies service (Pirjo Uusoksa)  


The Vice President is respon­sible for imple­menting the plan as a whole. The persons respon­sible for each area are respon­sible for imple­menting the plan in their own area, and each Karelia employee considers the objec­tives of the plan in their work. The imple­men­tation of the plan is assessed annually in connection with the management review.


Ministry of Education and Culture. 2021. Kohti saavutet­tavampaa korkeak­oulu­tusta ja korkeak­oulua. Opetus- ja kulttuuri­m­in­is­teriön julka­isuja 2021:35. <>

The Inclusive Higher Education Network. 2019. Acces­si­bility criteria. A tool for assessing the acces­si­bility of a higher education insti­tution. Final report of the Inclusive Higher Education project. <>