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ERIC Number: ED493641
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-May
Pages: 166
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 37
Policy Development and Reform Principles of Basic and Secondary Education in Finland Since 1968. Education Working Paper Series. Number 2
Aho, Erkki; Pitkanen, Kari; Sahlberg, Pasi
Human Development Network Education
The Education Working Paper Series is produced by the Education Unit at the World Bank (HDNED). It provides an avenue for World Bank staff to publish and disseminate preliminary education findings to encourage discussion and exchange ideas within the World Bank and among the broader development community. Many factors have contributed to Finland's academic success, from highly trained teachers to a culture that encourages reading. One key--and exportable--ingredient often gets overlooked, however. Finland's remarkable performance today springs directly from education policies and reforms set in motion four decades ago. Although the process sparked criticism and political debate, there now is general agreement that the early policy decisions of the 1970s were correct and helped to create the celebrated school system of today. This book examines the development of education policy and reform principles in Finland over that 40-year span. The 1960s and 1970s were times of drastic change as the country evolved from an agrarian society to a Scandinavian welfare state. To facilitate this transformation, the education system, which maintained the inequities of the class society for which it was designed, needed a total overhaul. Adopting a "comprehensive school reform" approach, Finnish educators and policymakers scrutinized everything from curriculum and textbooks to salaries and administration. At the same time, teacher training underwent substantial revision, with the goal of raising teacher education to the university level. Significant resources were also invested in adult education and higher education. Following the Foreword, Executive Summary, and Fact Sheet: Education in Finland, this book is divided into three parts. Part I, Comprehensive School Reform, introduces the first four chapters: (1) Short Introduction to the History and Today; (2) Reform Principles; (3) Implications for the Education System; and (4) Finland's Changing Society. Part II, Secondary School Reform, continues with the next four chapters: (5) Political Context in the 1970s; (6) Strategy and Implementation; (7) Changing Society; and (8) Education Reform in the 21st Century. Part III, Education Today and the Road Ahead, concludes the book with the remaining chapters: (9) Education Today; (10) Economic and Political Context; (11) High-Performing Education System; and (12) The Future of Education Reform. Appended are: (1) Glossary of terms; (2) Organizational development of education management during the reforms; (3) Study modules in the core subjects in upper-secondary vocational qualifications; (4) Example of vocational study modules in vocational qualification; (5) Division of courses between subjects in upper-secondary general school; and (6) List of upper-secondary vocational qualifications (since 2001). (Contains 25 figures.) [An initial draft of this paper was developed as part of the collective effort that led to the publication of "Expanding Opportunities and Building Competencies for Young People: A New Agenda for Secondary Education" (World Bank 2005). For Number 1 in the Education Working Paper Series, see ED493638.]
Human Development Network Education Sector. Available from: World Bank Group. 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433. Tel: 800-645-7247; Tel: 202-458-5454; Fax: 202-522-1500; e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: World Bank, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Finland