University of Helsinki concludes agreement with Saudi Arabia on continuing teacher education

The University of Helsinki and the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have concluded an agreement on the continuing education of Saudi Arabian teachers. The agreement was signed in Berlin on 15 March.

This contract regarding the continuing education of teachers is the first of its kind in the University of Helsinki’s education export efforts.  The programme will be launched in May-June.

A group of Saudi teachers will remain in Finland until the end of 2017. The teachers will receive instruction in the English language as well as pedagogical training.  In addition, they will be mentored in practical schoolwork in schools in the City of Espoo. At the same time, the children of the Saudi teachers will have a chance to enrol at the Norssi Teacher Training School in Helsinki to receive a glimpse of Finnish school education in both English and Arabic.

The training programme will be carried out in cooperation with Omnia Education Partnerships Ltd, which will organise the school mentoring in Espoo.

The group arriving in Finland will comprise 100 teachers.  The University of Helsinki will welcome 50 of them, while the others will be assigned to the universities of Turku, Tampere and Eastern Finland through Finland University Ltd. The teachers and their families mean that approximately 400 Saudis will be arriving in Finland in conjunction with the training. In addition to the teachers and their children, other adult family members will also participate in a variety of training programmes in Finnish culture and English, for example.

- This is a major stride for our education export. Negotiations are already underway for the next group of 300 teachers to arrive in Finland, states Marjaana Suutarinen, CEO of the University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+ Ltd. 

Even though the cultures of the two countries are very different, there is a great deal of interest in Saudi Arabia in the Finnish school system and curriculum.

- We will provide advanced training in English to help traverse the language barrier so that the teachers will be able to get the most out of their pedagogical training and the everyday work at school, says Kirsi Kettula, head of education export.

Kettula met with the teachers destined for Finland in February in Riad, and found that they were very aware of the excellent reputation of Finnish schools. They were highly motivated to learn and to bring a new kind of pedagogical thinking to their own schools after the training.

The education is being commissioned by the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

More information:

Marjaana Suutarinen, tel. +358 50 448 8788, e-mail