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News, 18/04/2012

Finnish Lessons: What can UK learn from the educational change in Finland?

Finnish education has received a significant amount of attention in the UK, from British politicians and education experts as well as the general public. Since Finland received top ratings in the PISA studies, education has been one of the most acknowledged aspects of the image of Finland in the UK.  This spring the Embassy of Finland and the Finnish Institute in London are organizing a series of education events, where the leading British and Finnish experts of education are brought together.

Since the beginning of the century, when Finland gained top ratings in the OECD's PISA (Programme for International Students Assessment) study, hundreds of international experts have been visiting Finland, in order to find out the secrets behind our successful education system. The success has also attracted the interest of the British media, because Finland has been ranked higher than Britain in average learning outcomes of comprehensive education.

School children

There are many significant differences between the British and Finnish systems of education. Among these are the attitude towards the role of teachers and education, and how much the competition between students and schools is emphasized.

Because of the fact that there are no school uniforms or national examination, and because of the shortness of the school days along with the relatively late age of entering the education system, the ‘Finnish model’ has sometimes been seen as a total opposite to the British school system.

But what are the reasons behind the success of Finnish education? Can these elements be adapted to the UK or are the countries and their cultures just too different? This spring the Embassy of Finland and the Finnish Institute in London are organizing a series of events themed around education. The events are open to the general public, and the aim is to focus on the different aspects behind the success of the Finnish education system.

Upcoming events

Finnish Lessons: What can England learn from the educational change in Finland?

Dr Pasi Sahlberg, Houses of Parliament, London
17 May 2012 at 6-8pm

Finland is one of the few countries, which has successfully built an education system in which children learn without tough competition, long school days, and large amount of tests and homework. Dr Pasi Sahlberg, the Director General of CIMO (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation based in Helsinki) reveals how the Finnish way of developing education differs from the global predominant trend, which aims to increase evaluation and competition, and what there could be for England to learn from the Finnish experience.

Dr Pasi Sahlberg has previously worked as a teacher, teacher-educator, policy advisor and served the World Bank in Washington and the European Commission in Torino as an education expert.

The event is hosted by by Lisa Nandy MP, a member of the Education Select Committee. Gillian Hargreaves, BBC Education Correspondent, will moderate the discussion.

Want to be included in the guest list? Please contact: Tiina Heinilä, Embassy of Finland, or +44 20 7838 6216

Past events

In Teachers We Trust - Explaining the Finnish Miracle
29 March 2012

Finland has often been praised as having one of the most successful education systems in the world. Organised at the Institute of Education, this seminar presents esteemed keynote speeches and a lively panel discussion, which will tackle the Finnish example and make comparisons between English and Finnish experiences of recent education reforms and teacher training. The seminar also includes the launch of a novel book "Miracle of Education: The Principles and Practises of Teaching and Learning in Finnish Schools".

The seminar programme can be downloaded here.

Lessons from the North? Education, Teaching and Schools
30 March 2012

UK's interest in the Nordic region's education systems remain strong. This seminar, organised as a part of "Nordic and Baltic States in the European Political Imagination" seminar series by the UCL Nordic/Baltic group, takes education policy as a case study for an examination of the transfer of policy ideas, and the adoption of foreign models in the UK. The seminar consists of three panel discussions with radiant panelists: "Education In Diverse Societies", "Nordic and British School Models" and "Teachers - Academics Or Practitioners?"

The seminar programme can be downloaded here.

Finnish Lessons: What can Scotland learn from the educational change in Finland?
Dr Pasi Sahlberg, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
2 May 2012 at 6-8:30pm

Further Information: Tiina Heinilä, Embassy of Finland, or
+44 20 7838 6216

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Updated 08/05/2012

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