£0 – £5.98

Education - is Finland showing the Way Forward?

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Brockway Hall

25 Red Lion Square, London

London

WC1R 4RL

United Kingdom

View Map

Event description

Description

Join us at our Conway Hall meeting with Pekka Heinonen, the General Director of the Finnish National Agency for Education and former Minister of Education. This will be the second of a series of meetings we will be holding with Conway Hall on transforming education for the 21st Century – a collaboration between GlobalNet21 and the Conway Hall Ethical Society.

Finland is often cited as a glorious exception to the above. Their educational ethos is very different: school starts at age seven, there is an almost complete absence of exams, teachers enjoy very high status, there are no private schools or private tuition and educational outcomes are outstanding. The Finnish strategy for achieving equality and excellence in education is based on constructing a publicly funded comprehensive school system with no selection or streaming of students up to the age of 16.

But even here, questions are being asked as to how their system should adapt to the looming digital era. The emergence of the digital age and the growth of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics are bringing huge changes both in how we acquire and access knowledge and in patterns of employment and social behaviour. But does our education system prepare people in an appropriate way for the very different world that is emerging?

Since the UK’s Educational Reform Act of 1988 there has been an ideological consensus amongst the political parties about educational matters, not only in the UK but across many nations worldwide: the type of curriculum taught in schools, the centrality of testing and assessment, the breadth of the curriculum, the extent of specialisation during the period of compulsory schooling and the promotion of competition between institutions and nations through league tables.

A considerable amount of discussion about education takes place in the broadcast, print and social media, in academia and in policy-making bodies. There has been some excellent work from organisations like HundrED and from some individuals (eg Sir Ken Robinson, Pasi Sahlberg) on re-thinking education. But although this has been very well received, it is not changing the educational mind-set or producing the profound changes that are required.

Conspicuously absent from educational debate is any sense of a coherent and holistic set of reforms that addresses the huge technological and social changes that are taking place in the 21st century. Neither governments nor, more significantly, wider society are anywhere near convinced that fundamental changes in the educational system are needed. In order to transform the national perception of education we need to develop a narrative that not only lucidly describes the current catastrophic shortcomings of the education system, but also defines both a new vision and the route to achieving the revolution that is required.

Olli-Pekka Heinonen is well known for his clarity of thought and eloquence when expounding on the subject closest to his heart. We will be beaming him in from Helsinki and he will tell us of the essence of education and learning in his country and how it is continuing to react to the challenges ahead.

You will then have a rare opportunity - be able to question and discuss your own thinking on Finnish education with someone so well positioned. For example, if the Finnish way is so successful why aren’t all countries following in their footsteps?

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

Brockway Hall

25 Red Lion Square, London

London

WC1R 4RL

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved