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Four Finnish cities collaborate to develop, manage and maintain an open source ERP system for early childhood education.

Open source in Finnish childhood education

Published on: 17/01/2022 Last update: 20/06/2023 News

Deployed firstly by the city of Espoo, the open source software eVaka reached its second year of operation in providing citizens with information and functionalities on kindergartens and early childhood education centres.

During the spring of 2020, the city of Espoo in Finland launched the open source ERP system based on open source code eVaka, which is the city's customer information system for Finnish and Swedish-language early childhood education, jointly developed with the cities of Tampere, Turku and Oulu (all responsible for the management, maintenance, and development of the core of the eVaka software product), and designed to be deployed in a cloud environment. It is published under LGPL-2.1-or-later license on GitHub.

The scope of the project, which represents one of the most significant agile development projects currently ongoing at a city-level in Finland, is to streamline the information flow and provide the citizens with a valuable dataset about children at home, kindergartens and early childhood education centres as well as to offer a platform for the review of the early childhood education plan.

Specifically, through eVaka, applications for early childhood education, pre-school education, service vouchers and clubs are applied for, and information related to the customer relationship between children and guardians is processed. During the autumn of 2021, mobile attendance records and communication with guardians have been introduced, all available after the log-in.

Finally, the software provides a map of the city highlighting early childhood education, pre-primary education and club places, and its use is possible in Finnish, Swedish and English. The long list of units shown provides several information on each place selected, ranging from name to address, service needs (i.e. early childhood education, pre-primary education, club), language spoken (i.e. Finnish or Swedish), service provider (i.e. municipal, purchased service, private service, service voucher), and whether the unit provides evening or round-the-clock care shifts. The user has filters at their disposal to quickly skim the list of units.

eVaka website

Source: eVaka website.

If digital services for the interaction between home and early childhood education staff have been already implemented in Espoo, the plan for the city of Tampere, Oulu and Turku is to release the software in stages in the two-year period 2022-2023, thus expanding the user base of eVaka to about one million Finns.