Guests from Scotland visited Finland for school system development ideas

The Scottish ministerial delegation was hosted by the Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education. The delegation visited the university on 15 March 2010.

Anu Räisänen, Jarkko Hautamäki, Colin MacLean, Michael Russell, Kauko Hämäläinen

Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, wants to reform the Scottish school system. Traditionally, Scots have coped on their own, but they have started to visit the Nordic countries for new ideas.

Finnish schoolchildren's good learning results, superior in the comparison of OECD countries, have extensively highlighted the Finnish school system.

There may not necessarily be any quantitative differences. For example, in relation to normal teaching, Scotland has an equal ratio of special education teachers as Finland does.

Cabinet Secretary Russell is confident that teacher training provides the key for better education.

Finnish parents leave more responsibility to the school institution for educating their children, whereas Scottish parents participate more actively in everyday school activities.

In Scotland, the aim is to improve quality through more intensive monitoring and control. In Finland, school operations are monitored, but publicising differences between schools is avoided. Information is compiled to act as a basis for development. Support and development measures are allocated to the weakest schools.

In fact, Jarkko Hautamäki, Professor of Special Education at the University of Helsinki, pointed out to the guests that, in Finland, the biggest differences are found within schools, between average classes and classes with a special emphasis, for example. Through well-functioning special education, Finland has also enabled exceptionally good school success for those with a weaker starting point.

From Finland, the Scottish guests continued to Stockholm, where they will visit private schools.

Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education » »

Text and photo: Riitta-Leena Inki
In the picture: Anu Räisänen, Head Coordinator at the Finnish Education Evaluation Council; Jarkko Hautamäki, Professor; Colin MacLean, Director of Learning; Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary; Kauko Hämäläinen, Director.
Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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