We were so grateful that Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister for Education, joined us on the final day of the HundrED Summit in Helsinki, in November 2018. Here is what she had to say about the future of education, the Finnish way.
“It’s not a coincidence that HundrED comes from Finland, because the Finnish people very much love and respect education. It’s very much at the heart of society. In our hundred years of independence, we’ve counted on education as our greatest resource.”
“We want Finland to be a country where everyone loves to learn new things, all the time. We want to be a modern country that is also the model country for modern learning.”
“This event is a great opportunity to also learn from other countries and innovations for all around the world, which is why I'm so proud of the work HundrED does.”
“Finland's education system is built around one core value, which is equal access to quality education. We want that each child may reach their full potential no matter their background or their place of birth, we want every school to be a place of world-class learning."
“Finnish people see equal access to education as a vital ingredient to our whole nation’s success. Social innovations like free school meals for everyone since 1948, free study materials and financial aid to students in secondary and higher education, they were all innovations in their time. Now we in Finland kind of take them for granted and it’s time to come up with new innovations, ones that will give more possibilities for learning for every child.”
“One of the biggest strengths of Finnish education is our highly educated and motivated teachers, the best in the world. Teachers are well respected in society and becoming a teacher is an attractive career choice for our young people. It's also competitive. Universities can choose between the best applicants.”
“Finnish teachers have a high level of independence and autonomy in their day-to-day school work. They have the freedom to choose the materials, the methods, the innovations and new technologies they use. This allows teachers to use the latest innovations in school work. They are the ones that do small and big innovations every day in our schools around the country.”
“Innovators agree that schools must change, this is what this event is about. We discuss how rapidly the world is changing and how schools must change as well. But the question is, how? I'm certain that change in schools is made by the teachers and only by the teachers. In Finland, it's clear there's no reform or innovation that can be put into use without involving the teachers. That's why our government invests heavily in teacher training and continued education for teachers. For example, we created a system of tutor teachers that mentor their colleagues and help others to implement the new curriculum we have or in using new technologies.”
“Our autonomous teachers are the best experts of teaching and our society relies on their professionalism. It's not my business as a politician to tell our teachers how to teach, they are the professionals. We facilitate this, so the schools and teachers can do their job. For an innovation to succeed, you have to convince the teachers that it works, this is something we must always remember.”
“Looking into the future, education is more important than ever, it’s obvious but it’s a fact. We need more knowledge, more research, more cooperation to solve big global problems. Unfortunately, the world is in a global learning crisis and more than half of the world’s school-age children are not getting basic skills in reading, writing, and math. This is a great injustice that requires attention from us all. After all, education is the key to improving sustainability, equality, and wellbeing of entire nations."
"Innovations are vital so that these goals can be achieved in the entire world. Working to make education possible for all humanity is our duty as innovators and professionals of education.”
Like what you've heard so far? Find a playlist of videos from the HundrED Summit here.