The collaboration between Finnish science and technology universities and China will branch out into science education.

There are plans to establish a LUMA centre in Beijing Normal University (BNU), modelled on the LUMA centre Finland network coordinated by the University of Helsinki. LUMA centre Finland is an internationally unique science-education network with participation from all Finnish universities and many academic centres.

United we are better

The Chinese LUMA centre will follow its Finnish prototype in connecting early education, school, parents, and the business world, supporting research and development collaboration with university and teacher education in mathematics and science.

– The exportation of the LUMA method in an international setting is important and useful, and a practical implementation of the university’s strategy for international goals and visions;  Global Impact in Interaction, says Professor Jukka Kola, rector of the University of Helsinki.

The objective of the collaboration agreement signed by the universities in October is to promote the research and development collaboration and researcher exchange in science and technology education.

Besides representatives of the university, the meeting in Beijing where the contract will be signed will be attended by the Finnish Minister of Education, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

– The promotion of natural sciences and mathematics is one of the focal points of our education policy. In the budget negotiations, the government decided to invest five million euros extra in this field. It is great that the methods developed to strengthen science and maths learning have interested international actors, enabling the founding of new collaborations, says Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

International collaboration is one of the duties of LUMA centre Finland.

– The first LUMA centre to be established abroad is a considerable step, says Professor Maija Aksela of the University of Helsinki, director of LUMA centre Finland.

Mathematics and other sciences

– We need more research on how the teaching of mathematics, natural sciences, and technology can be made meaningful, says Professor Maija Aksela of the University of Helsinki, director of LUMA centre Finland, who has been preparing the collaboration agreement for two years.

The Chinese have made large advances in research into the teaching of modern technology, and we hope to gain inspiration for Finnish school education.

– The interest of Finnish 15-year-olds to study maths and science has fallen alarmingly low amongst OECD countries, says Aksela.

Development research in science class

The science class is a form of education the Chinese are eager to try.

– In Finland, the chemistry classroom Gadolin at the University of Helsinki has worked for almost ten years, and it, along with 12 other science classrooms, has proven to be an excellent forum for developing new pedagogical innovations for experimental teaching, says Aksela.  

There are also plans for international science camps. The purpose is to have teachers and researchers from both countries take part in the camps.

International collaboration is one of the duties of LUMA centre Finland. According to Maija Aksela, this first LUMA centre to be established abroad is a significant initiative, and she is looking to open them elsewhere, as well.

University of Helsinki Science Education Centre

More in­form­a­tion

Director, professor Maija Aksela, LUMA Centre Finland / University of Helsinki
Email: maija.aksela@helsinki.fi
Phone: +358 50 514 1450

Science Communicator Riitta-Leena Inki
Email: riitta-leena.inki@helsinki.fi
Phone: +358 50 448 5770
Twitter: @inkiriitta