An example for the world

An example for the world

Text: Hanna Kajander
Photo: Petteri Hyvärinen

Finnish Maritime Curriculum – an Example for the World 

With 25 years of maritime teaching under your belt, you will have seen a lot and come up against many things, which you can draw from and pass on to your students – including maritime teachers. Jarmo Teränen, captain, master mariner and maritime senior lecturer from Rauma, for whom the sea plays an important role even after the university’s doors have closed at the end of the working day.  

I started teaching at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) in 1997. The university had only been going for a couple of years before the maritime college, where I was working at the time, was integrated into SAMK. At the beginning you had your own sectors, offices, and business units – in other words, it was like different schools existed under the same name. It’s only over the last 10 years or so that activities have been more integrated, overlapping functions have been combined and in this respect, operations have become rationalized, says Teränen.  

Merenkulkuaineiden lehtori on opettanut kaikkea ensimmäisen vuosikurssin perusteista alkaen.

Over the years, this maritime lecturer has taught everything starting with the basics of first-year classes.

I’ve taught everything from the basics to shipping handling in the simulator to astronomy to seamanship to transportation technology… and for the last ten years, I have been responsible for the curriculum of the sea captain degree program.

Alongside his teaching work, Teränen has also continued to work in the maritime industry in order to maintain his skills and knowledge.

 I enjoy my work and I like teaching – but the sea plays an important role for me both in my free-time pursuits and in my own company, through which I get orders for cargo and other inspections, compass adjustments, shipyard’s sea trails …  I can thus keep up with current developments, Teränen affirms. 

It is no wonder, therefore, that the Euro-Za project also benefitted from Teränen’s experience.

Positive Experience in the Euro-Za Project

As a result of the considerable cooperation and research work of the ERASMUS+ Euro-Za (2018-2022) project, maritime education in South Africa has benefitted from the experience of the European partners, gaining a point of reference and guidelines for developing its education.

Our part in the project was to compare the different curricula, and the way in which education is organized in the schools involved: the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) in South Africa, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Durban University of Technology (DUT) – and in addition to our institute, the other European ones were Hochschule Wismar (HSW) from Germany and Solent University (SU) from Southampton in the UK.

Maritime is a tightly regulated industry, and for good reason. The International Maritime Organization IMO draws up conventions which are ratified by each country individually. In Finland these regulations are overseen by the Finnish Transport and Communication Agency, Traficom. The STCW Convention (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) provides education with a clear framework, Teränen continues. – However, it is up to each country as to how the regulations are integrated into education, and it became evident during Euro-Za that there exist clear differences even among us Europeans.

Differences in themselves are neither negative nor positive – it is more a question of the implementation of education since In Finland much is digitalized, including books.

Finland Is a Forerunner on Many Levels

There are dozens of conventions drawn up by the IMO, and one convention may include several regulations that are to be taken into consideration in the training. In Finland, all this material is in digital form.

We are in a privileged position: we have our own computers, and good internet connections that allow remote learning and teaching, and the materials are easily available digitally. Although I confess, you could say I am a bit old school, as I still like to shuffle through papers and anything old, admits Teränen with a smile.

The project comes to an end in July. Jarmo Teränen hopes that the results of the Euro-Za project have given the South Africans an objective and pointed them in the right direction, although it will take time to make the technology jump and build the bridge between our different “worlds”.

With our model of the Finnish maritime cluster, in which everything – the ports, shipping companies, authorities, the education sector etc – work in sync, we have a functional solution, a more or less win-win situation for all concerned. The Finnish cluster model certainly has a lot to offer to the other partners in the project, Jarmo Teränen concludes.



  • Jarmo Teränen, born in Rauma in 1967
  • Educational background: Captain, Master Mariner and M.Sc. Education
  • Present employer and title: Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Logistics and Marine Technology, Senior Lecturer and Sea Captain Curriculum Coordinator
  • Work history: Dry cargo vessels and tankers
  • Free-time interests: Wooden boats and general messing around with other traditional stuff