Future Challenges to an Education System – Case Finland
Two major forward-looking education events took place in London this week. Education World Forum is an international education seminar held annually in London in which ministers from over 70 countries around the world gather to debate future practice in education. BETT is a trade show that showcases the use of information technology in education.
In line with the theme of the week we asked the Finnish delegates to the events to name a future challenge to the Finnish system and suggest a way to tackle it.
Aulis Pitkälä, the Director of the Finnish Board of Education states that a major future challenge will be in changing the culture of schools towards learning communities. A change from teaching centricity towards learning centricity means that the role of the teacher will be to act as a learning counsellor.
“It is a change that should be managed, but at the same time made together. Additional training of teachers will naturally be needed too”, Pitkälä says.
Thomas Vikberg from the Finnish Ministry of Culture and Education highlights the new national core curriculum that will be introduced this autumn. The new curriculum brings up to date the guidance regarding the use of digital technology in basic education. However, it will be challenging to guarantee equal opportunities for all students to be taught in line with the new curriculum.
To this Vikberg has a solution: “One of the cornerstones of our education system is our highly educated teachers. In fact their role is so central that if we manage to bring our teacher training up to date, many of the challenges brought about by digital tools can be resolved."
Anneli Rautiainen, Head of Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Unit of the Finnish Board of Education says the new curriculum will give schools, teachers, and headteachers a wonderful chance to discuss and develop the organisational culture in schools.
“The time of teaching and doing things alone has passed. We need to figure out together how learning can be planned, put to practice and be evaluated by a team of teachers.”
Making co-teaching and shared leadership an integral part of the organisational culture is important also because it acts a model of cooperativeness and sharing know-how for the students.
“We want schools to become learning communities in which knowledge is shared and the professional growth of the whole (work)community is made possible. This enables development and the joy of learning to spread to the wider community.”