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Can the Finnish educational model become an export product?

Thanks to high test scores, Finland’s educational system has earned praise worldwide. Now officials hope to convert it into an export product.

Opetusministeri Krista Kiuru.
Minister of Education Krista Kiuru Image: Yle

How could Finnish education be exported? By supplying entire schools to Africa? Yes, for instance, says Minister of Education Krista Kiuru.

This weekend, she is heading to Asia on her first trip aimed at promoting Finnish educational exports. She will meet with ministers in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

There is a lot of interest in educational exports among Finnish companies, particularly in the gaming industry.

“They’re attracted by the opportunities to export their products or applications that support the learning environment – such as maths games, for instance,” Kiuru explains.

How to sell educational know-how?

On Thursday the Education Ministry set up a committee to come up with ways to turn the Finnish schooling model into a profitable business. Jari Jokinen, Project Director at the Espoo-based Aalto University, is a member of the panel.

He says that education exports so far have been held back by a familiar Finnish phenomenon: a lack of know-how in how to sell them. Other obstacles include outmoded operational cultures and many legislative restrictions.

By the end of October, the working group is to find out what a Finnish educational product might be, to whom it could be sold and at what kinds of prices. The panel is being led by Social Democratic MP Päivi Lipponen, an author, teacher and wife of former prime minister Paavo Lipponen.

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