Finland is one of the rare countries that has managed to build a school system where all children learn well without harsh competition, long school days and extensive testing and homework. Packed audiences in Edinburgh (2 May) and London (17 May) had the change to hear Finland's top education policy expert, Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, as he described the history of Finnish educational reform and examined the success of the Finnish education today.
In his talks, Dr Sahlberg explained how the Finnish way of improving schools differs from much of the global educational reform strategies, including in England. He explored the evolution of Finnish education, the role of teachers, links between education reform and other sectors of society, and how smart education policies may raise nation’s prosperity and reduce poverty.
Dr Sahlberg used his book Finnish Lessons (2011) as the background for the talks. The book is an introduction to the development of Finnish education system, as it explains how the educational reforms in Finland have focused on professionalising teachers' work, developing leadership in schools and enhancing trust in teachers, rather than relying on competition, choice and external testing of students.
Pasi Sahlberg, PhD, is Director General of CIMO (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) in Helsinki, Finland. Finnish Lessons is based on the author’s research and personal experience as a teacher, scholar, and policy advisor both in Finland and abroad. Dr. Sahlberg has global expertise in educational reforms, training teachers, coaching schools, and advising policy-makers. He has worked with policy and research organizations in Finland and as an educational specialist for the World Bank in Washington D.C., and for the European Commission in Torino, Italy.