In many parts of the world, public schooling is in crisis. Competition, choice, standardized testing, and privatization have become common tactics to improve schools. This presentation shows that there is an alternative way to transform education systems and boost learning for all students. It is the way of inclusion and equity, teacher professionalism, collaborative practice, and trust-based responsibility. Finland’s education system consistently ranks among the top in the world in learning achievement, equity of outcomes, and system efficiency. This presentation reveals that the transformation of education systems is possible if education policies focus more on inclusion and equity instead of choice, professional development instead of test-based accountability, and pedagogy instead of technology. What is needed is the right blend of ingenuity, time, patience, and determination.
Pasi Sahlberg, born in 1959 in Oulu, Finland, is a Finnish citizen. His teaching career started in Teacher Training School at the University of Helsinki in 1985. He then moved to the Ministry of Education in 1991 and from there to lead the Centre for School Development at the University of Helsinki in 2000. He served as Senior Education Specialist in the World Bank in Washington, DC and as Lead Education Specialist in the European Training Foundation, in Torino, Italy. He has worked with the OECD (most recently in Norway, Ontario and Abu Dhabi) and an advisor to the governments in more than 45 countries. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Oulu, and sits in the Board of Directors of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education (IASCE), and Advisory Board member of the Centre on International Benchmarking in Education (USA). His most recent book is called “Finnish lessons: what can the world learn from educational change in Finland” (Teachers College Press, 2011). He is currently Director General of CIMO (National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) at the Finnish Ministry of Education in Helsinki, Finland.