Finland's Experience in Education: A Conversation with Education Minister Krista Kiuru
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Finland's Experience in Education: A Conversation with Education Minister Krista Kiuru

Date: Monday, May 5, 2014
Time: 1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET (17:45 – 19:00 GMT or convert time)
Location: World Bank J1-050 & Online

Finland is this decade's shiny icon of classroom success. Since it implemented huge education reforms 40 years ago, Finland's school system has consistently come at the top of international rankings. Finland’s schools are publicly funded, homework is minimal, and compulsory schooling does not begin until age 7. The Finnish system draws teacher candidates from the top 10% of graduates, trains teachers well, and lets them design the curriculum around very lean national standards. What can other countries learn from Finland’s successes, and what challenges should they keep in mind?

This event as concluded, view the replay below.



Executive Director, Nordic and Baltic Countries, World Bank
Minister of Education and Science, Finland
Senior Fellow, Inter-American Dialogue
Lead Economist in the Human Development Network, World Bank
Country Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, World Bank Group
Read what others are asking
Trinidad and Tobago
The training and educating of Directors of Boards, - can it be classified as ;Professional' Training??How would you define a 'Chartered Certificate or a 'Accredited Certificate' - are they at the Master's level or above?
Dr. Ashish Manohar Urkude
Congrats for successessfully implementing education reforms to Finlanders. They were among the first to implement Right To Education Act (RTE) in their country, being small country and willing to implement, they seem to be successful too. Thus both corolaries are true. Now, the question is how can they help other countries? Also, why cannot their expert implementers help other 135 countries, where RTE is there but are not successful? If it doesn't happen then Education to all, will forever, remain Human Dream, and might be in 22nd century man will colonise moon, with highly educated beings, and back home on earth, those living on moon will call us, the relatively illitarate society. Hope you'll touch this point. Thus, each successful country will educate at least a million i n a span of a decate in ....not so educated countries....could be a better aim for human society in future. Sustainance of human civilisation is at stake hence also, I believe, you all would discuss, these points, please.
Dr. Ashish Manohar Urkude
It's time, we start dreaming for 100% educated human being on earth. Otherwise, in 22nd century the humans shifted on moon base or mars base would start calling us, backward race among the humans.....May be at this question you'll laugh, but, if it happens then, ...we'll be laughed. Hope Finland will share their expertise in implementing 100% literacy, at the world level....
can ethiopia achieve itss GTp plan in 2015 specially in youth and sport development sector?
Education and its importance in the present and future society. education gives light, removes ignorance and literacy what ever it may be. But the right to education and the most vital question is lack up awareness and parental education is also importance for the educational system and lack up monitoring and evalution system, only records in papers but p of educational system ractical is totally different for the achievement the goals fo the department as a responsibility of position MINISTER, can change the scenario in the reality manner. N.K.PANDU-NBDP INDIA
Education is fundamental Rights. What are the systems those are violating the education and engage child those are under 18? what are the policy those are not follow the principles of the right to education as per the law concern? what are the steps for the actions those are shunting the principles of the educational plan and policies and side by side involvement in a large number of business model for under 18 years child as general in particular India? what are the action taken by the world bank in particular field? NABAKISHORE PANDU (N.K.PANDU)-Researcher cum NBDP INDIA PLANNER
Park Dong-Myoung
Korea, Rep.
Many Koreans are very unpleased with it's cramming method of teaching because this way kills individual's creativity and eduacate everyone to be good at the same thing rather than what they are good at. What kind of way could be implemented to Korea to improve it's educational system?
Imran Malik
What parameters should be adopted for maintaining quality education for all?
Neil A
United Kingdom
First of all congrats for the success Finland has achieved in the education domain, however i am still curious to know about the crucial drivers that help facilitate this success. Also, one unique feature of Finnish system is to start school/formal learning by 7 yrs which is quite late in comparison to other countries I know. Is this based on some evidence/rationale? Does this play any role in the overall success of the system or educational outcomes? Because it kind of sits in stark opposition with early years emphasis put forward in other western countries who believe that the early you start things the better the outcomes.
Saif Kamal
how can you share your success with developing countries? i work in providing better quality education in bangladesh. do you have knowledge transfer support?
Ok Min Cheo;
Korea, Rep.
What strength of Finland education? Is there any weakness comparing other country?
Korea, Rep.
Comparing to Finland's education system, Korean Education system is likely to be called 'one of the worst systems all over the world' by Korean themselves. It is because Korean students tend to stick to 'grade', and 'academic activity'. So extracurricular studies are easily ignored. It seems wrong and incorrect, I think. What can Korean educantion sysyem learn from Finland's? And what challenge will Korean's face?
Carmen maria Romero@carmenptpoet
United States
How has Finland approached inclusion of children with disabilities? Success would indicate equal access and social justice reaching all children and children of mothers with dissabilities. If that is the case I am very curious how you were able to reach, account for and ensure equal access?
Craig Morris
Isle of Man
Initial teacher training in the UK is quite good in my experience but in comparison to medicine, law and finance, professional development for UK teachers is very poor because neither it nor teachers are valued. Everyone in education is aware of this but how do we get politicians with such short term interests to back education in the long term? Thank you so much in advance for your precious time.
J.H. Kim
Korea, Rep.
Considering how often today's academic systems in various countries are criticized, Finland's exemplary educational success is one of admiration and not a little envy. As a successful predecessor in educational reform, which aspects in the educational fields should other countries' focus on?
Dr. Ananh Norasingh
If finland already started the education reform for the last 40 years, then the funds should not go to finland, it should go to third world countries that very need the funds.
Carlos Peña
What to do about polítical/union interests that get in the way and usually are not in kids' best interests to provide a world class education?
Albert M.
Some observers note that the Finnish success did not rely on standardised testing which in North America is seen as having gone too far in that direction. At the same time, without participation in an international student assessment study, we wouldn't be talking about what could be learned from Finland's approach to education (and how education equality contributes to overall levels of performance). Where do you see the balance? How do such kinds of data and evidence contribute to the formulation or monitoring of educational reforms in Finland and what lessons are there for other countries?
Suvash Dhakal
Nepal is a developing country where schools emphasize on giving lots of homework. In fact, limited home-works are looked upon as 'negatives' by parents, teachers and students alike. In comparison, Finish's education system might seem too lenient in Nepalese society. Are there any lessons for Nepalese schools to learn from the Finish educational system?
Umberto Marengo
I am a researcher at The European House - Ambrosetti (a leading Italian think tank currently working on a comparative study on the best performing education systems in Europe). I have two questions: 1) How does the national curriculum work in Finland? How much leeway is left to local authorities and schools to shape their own curriculum and what are the benefit of this system? 2) How is the teaching staff selected in Finland and are there specific instruments to assess and reward outstanding teachers? Thank you very much for this opportunity.