Getting to grips with terminology – Vocabulary of Education OKSA was published
The first official edition of Vocabulary of Education (OKSA), which contains almost 560 concepts, was published at University of Helsinki's Learning Centre Minerva on Friday, 20 April 2018. In addition to Finnish terms of the field, this glossary contains their English and Swedish equivalents.
The general intelligibility of concepts may emerge as a challenge in communication about the education sector from time to time. In legislation on different levels of education, for instance, different terms may be used for the same concept. OKSA provides jointly agreed definitions for concepts and recommended terms, striving to harmonize language use in the education sector.
While the first edition emphasizes higher education terminology, the vocabulary will be gradually expanded to other levels of education. The aim is to put together a consistent glossary for the sector that covers all levels of education.
Terminology work to underpin online service development
The terminology work was already initiated by the Ministry of Education and Culture in 2010 as part of the reform of Learners' Online Services (currently Studyinfo). The need for the terminology work originally stemmed from incompatibility between information systems. Harmonization of language use represented an effort to promote the building of interoperable digital services.
It was very soon observed that the work should not be restricted to terms used in information systems alone – other concepts were also fraught with terminological problems.
Over the years, OKSA has increasingly evolved into a general glossary of the field, which is useful not only in information system development but also in any situation where a joint understanding is aimed for. The vocabulary helps those who produce, search for and use information to communicate as fluently as possible while also supporting the drafting of legislation.
Cooperation to promote intelligible terminology
Terminology work has been carried out at regular meetings of OKSA sub-group, which consisted of specialists from different departments of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education, higher education and CSCas well as terminology experts. The language versions of the terms were produced, among other things, by the Glossary group consisting of translators employed by such stakeholders as the public administration and higher education institutions. Terminological expertise was contributed, the work was organized and implemented and the finished publication was edited by Finnish Terminology Centre TSK.
OKSA is intended for experts, drafters of legislation, information system experts, communication officers, journalists, translators and everyone who needs information about recommended terms in the education sector and their meanings.
At this stage, the OKSA vocabulary has been published both in the Government publication series and the Finnish Terminology Centre TSK's term bank TEPA. Later on, the plan is to also publish it in connection with the yhteentoimiva.suomi.fi glossary tool and in Finto term base, which would improve access to the vocabulary and facilitate its use, thus also promoting such projects as the building ofinteroperable information systems.