The cultures of China and Finland share an appreciation of education. Mutual values are now promoted through a multi-university institute of learning innovation.

The University of Helsinki is hosting a delegation of Chinese guests this week as the operations of the Joint Learning Innovation Institute are initiated. Beijing Normal University and the University of Helsinki work as coordinating universities. The cooperation between nine Finnish and several Chinese Universities concentrates on research, cooperation with companies, ICT, teacher training and joint degrees.

“The same themes are important at the national level,” says Permanent Secretary Anita Lehikoinen from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

As Professor Hannele Niemi of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences adds: “Objectives of the University of Helsinki can be realised in systematic long-haul cooperation with Chinese universities in high-level research, applying for research funding, training teachers and organising student exchange.”

According to Niemi, joint publications and research projects are already in progress. Niemi herself has just edited a book entitled New Ways to Teach and Learn in China and Finland – Crossing Boundaries with Technology.

Looking into the schoolroom together

Examples of cooperation cover a variety of topics. One ongoing research project between China and Finland is looking at students producing multi-media stories in the schoolroom. The theme of student-driven knowledge production appears very interesting in different school systems and societies.

Another project is investigating the meaning of music and physical education for brain functions and student well-being. A third group is interested in creating joint tests for identifying special-education needs.

Making Finland visible in China

The University of Helsinki has had several simultaneous efforts under way in China. For example, a group of University researchers has this past weekend been participating in the Moi Helsinki event organised in Beijing by the City of Helsinki.

In addition, the Alumni Association has brought together interested stakeholders to establish a local Alumni Club in Beijing. According to Executive Manager Pia Österman, this part of the Moi Helsinki event was highly successful. The University of Helsinki China Alumni Club aims to serve as a meeting point for researchers, experts, parents looking for education options, and so on. Partners in the Alumni Club are Peking University (PKU), the Beijing Foreign Studies University and Beijing Normal University.

Another tip for friends of China are the Welcome Lectures given by new professors. Professor Julie Yu-Wen Chen will present her welcome lecture under the theme “Why your Professor’s Stories are Important to Chinese Students” on Wednesday, 25 May, at 14.15. The 20-minute lecture is open to all.

Sino-Finnish Collaboration in Education

Starting cooperation in teacher training (in Finnish)

More about the subject: Teaching & studying