Finland: Towards the Future School



Finland is known globally for two things: first, Santa Claus who is living in Korvatunturi in Lapland, near the Russian border; and second, education. A huge success in the international Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results in the early 2000s raised Finnish education to the core of educational discussion all around the world. Finland’s top rankings in not only one category but in all three main test categories—literacy, mathematics and science—has led to many questions as to the origins of this success. The answers lay in two main categories: the developmental history of Finnish compulsory school and teacher education. In Finland, PISA results were of more importance for others than teachers and experts in the field of education. Many stakeholders, especially from the business world, had been criticizing Finnish compulsory school since the 1970s. They were worried about the efficiency of the Finnish school and questioned the quality of learning. The PISA results ended this critique. Teachers and other experts in education had a very realistic attitude towards PISA results, although the same could not perhaps be said of other stakeholders. Educators had been developing their work based on aims set down in the Finnish national core curriculum. PISA was only four letters for most in the field of education, and PISA was also a system most had only heard of for the first time in the early 2000s. The professional development work of teachers in Finland has for some time been grounded in many reasons other than success in PISA surveys (see e.g. Sahlberg 2015; Rautiainen and Kostiainen 2015).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Calgary Board of Education, University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Universität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.University of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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