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Education / Golden Oldies

2012 – How does Finnish education stay streets ahead?

2012 – How does Finnish education stay streets ahead?

This event in May 2012 was hosted by the Convenor of the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee, Stewart Maxwell MSP and sponsored by the Finnish Embassy with Nordic Horizons

‘The story of Finland’s extraordinary educational reforms is one that should inform policymakers and educators around the world. This book is a must read.’ Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University.

The book in question is Pasi Sahlberg’s Finnish Lessons which helps explains why Finland’s education system regularly tops world league tables for results, happiness of children, levels of literacy and esteem of teachers. The Finnish education system is so often cited as a blueprint that one Scottish union leader said he was fed up hearing about it! Most educationists, policy-makers and parents however want to know more. What’s the secret of Finnish educational success and which aspects might Scotland usefully borrow?

Our speaker was Dr Pasi Sahlberg,  Director General of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO) an independent agency funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and based in Helsinki. He has global expertise in educational reform, training teachers, coaching schools and advising policy makers. He has previously worked as a teacher, teacher-educator, policy advisor and served the World Bank in Washington and the European Commission as an education expert. Read more on or

Finnish Lessons – Digital Notes

Photos of the meeting are posted on the Nordic Horizons Facebook page – do join.

Pasi Sahlberg presentation can be downloaded here. Download Pasi Sahlberg Presentation in the Scotland Parliament 2012

Podcast – Our plan was to record the meeting for your listening pleasure. Sadly, there was a technical problem. So, we did the next best thing and recorded a podcast. So check out this 30 minute episode of The Lesley Riddoch Podcast on Global Player (you may need to register an account) –

Speaker Biogs

042812_1130_Speakersbio1Pasi Sahlberg, from Oulu, Finland started teaching in Teacher Training School at the University of Helsinki in 1986. He then moved to the Ministry of Education in 1991 to serve as Senior Advisor in science education, Head of the School Improvement Unit, and later as Counsellor to the Deputy Director General on education policy development and education reform. In 2000 he was invited to take the leadership of the Centre for School Development in the University of Helsinki. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Oulu.
From 2003 he has worked as Senior Education Specialist in the World Bank in Washington, DC. He was responsible for education projects and analytical work in Europe and Central Asia. Since June 2007 he has worked with the European Training Foundation, in Torino, Italy, as Lead Education Specialist producing intellectual services to improve education policies and practices.

In his current job as Director General of CIMO (National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) Dr. Sahlberg works with the Finnish Government to promote internationalization and tolerance, creativity and global ethics in Finnish society through mobility and institutional cooperation in education, culture, youth and sport.
Dr. Sahlberg has published several books – his latest is Finnish lessons – what can the world learn from educational change in Finland. Teachers College Press New York 2011

042812_1130_Speakersbio2Donald Christie is Professor of Education, and the Head of School of Education, is a qualified schoolteacher and a chartered psychologist.

From 2004 to 2009, he was convenor of the collaborative research network on Learners, Learning and Teaching, part of the £2 million Applied Educational Research Scheme funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council (see


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