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. <>